Scrutiny of candidates

THE Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday that candidates for general election submit a separate affidavit along with new nomination forms. The affidavit, which was evolved by the Election Commission of Pakistan under the directive of the apex court as an interim measure, contains key information that had been omitted from the new nomination forms.
As pointed out by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar it is right of the people to know credentials of the candidates they are voting for and obviously the intention is to have neat and clean people in Parliament. This was also the intent for inclusion of Articles-62 and 63 in the Constitution that deal with qualifications and disqualifications of a candidate. The provisions have been there but we have witnessed in the past both in the case of elections to National and Provincial Assemblies as well as the Senate that people with dubious background got elected to both the Houses. This shows that mere inclusion of relevant provisions and requirement to submit affidavits are not enough and the entire exercise becomes meaningless in the absence of any credible mechanism for scrutiny. It has also been observed that there are favourites and targets in every election and the scrutiny is done on that yardstick making it something like a vendetta and fulfilment of certain objectives that have nothing to do with the noble objective of ensuring people with clean background to reach assemblies. We believe that neither judiciary nor any other institution should have any role in this regard especially in the prevailing circumstances and the matter should be left to the Election Commission. The Commission has already been empowered by Parliament and it can discharge its duties and responsibilities effectively if the job is left to it and no road-blocks are erected for the ECP. There are also issues involving jurisdiction and power of Parliament and the judiciary and nothing should be done that could be construed as taking away powers of one institution by the other. Harmony among institutions is must for stability and progress of the country and decisions should be taken in the broader context of overall interests of the country.

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