Punjab, KP elections sans political unity to remain unproductive: Experts

PESHAWAR, Mar 12 (APP): The primal principle of democracy is the worth and dignity of the individual besides respect to people’s mandate.

In democratic system as being practiced worldwide including Pakistan and the political parties give strength to an electoral process and legitimacy to the election results.

Every individual with political knowhow understand that political parties unite people for the elections and thereby confirm the viability of a democratic government system on the basis of a free, fair and transparent polls.

“Elections and political parties are interlinked. It not only facilitates social and political integration but also provides legitimacy to the government that came into existence after transparent elections,” said A.H. Hilali, former Chairman, Political Science Department, University of Peshawar while talking to APP.

“In a parliamentary system, the doors of political dialogue among political parties are always open. A broadbased political consensus and unity among all religious and political elites including PMLN, PPP, PTI, ANP, MQMP, JUIF and others was inevitable before election to ensure political and economic stability to the country.” Without political unity, election in KP and Punjab assemblies seemed to be a futile exercise with more chances of confrontation and chaos besides rigging allegations among political leaders as we have witnessed after 2013 general election.”

He said that unless the political parties set aside their differences and intiate dialogue, the country would continue to be embroiled in political instability having an adverse effects on the already-fragile economy despite holding of elections in KP and Punjab.

Ikhtiar Wali Khan, Pakistan Muslim League (N) KP spokesman said political unity was inevitable for free and transparent elections in KP and Punjab assemblies.

Sans unity of all political stakeholders and parties, he said that the dream of the country’s political and economic stability would hardly be materialized inspite of elections in both provinces.

He said on one side PTI has prematurely disolved the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies in a bid to politically destabilize Pakistan and on other side was demanding early election in the wake of economic quagmire and rise in terrorism cases, especially in KP.

Except PTI, he said that all political parties wanted that the election in all provinces including KP and Punjab and centre should be held collectively in October-November following the completion of five years term of the existing assemblies in August this year.

He said a 60 members representative delegation of tribal elders of the newly merged areas also demanded postponement of the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakthunkhwa till the conclusion of the digital census.

Esa Khan, former Advocate General KP said that article 224 of the constitution stipulated that caretaker governments across the country were essential for a transparent general election to take place.

“Article 224 elaborates timing of the elections as well as the procedure of the appointment of a caretaker prime minister in case the leader of the house and leader of the opposition do not agree on the name of a caretaker premier,” he said.

He reteriated that it was a constitutional requirement to have caretaker governments in all the provinces to proceed with the general elections.

Presently, Sindh and Balochistan provinces had an elected governments, which would complete their five-year term this year, while KP and Punjab were already ruled by the caretaker set-ups.

He asked if people would trust the fairness and legitimacy of the general elections in October-November this year when there would already be elected governments in place in the KP and Punjab provinces with all key departments under their control.

City reports, Ikhtiar Wali said that over 350,000 security personnel and Rs20 billion amount would be required for smooth conduct of the election process in the two provinces in the wake of difficult economic situation. “Can a poor country like Pakistan afford such huge deployment of security staff in the prevailing security environment and lavish expenditures again after six months for general election of the national assembly, Sindh and Balochistan provinces.”

Besides an increase in number of registered voters from 105.96 million to 122.19 million, he said the ECP would require more polling stations and polling staff to facilitate 17 million young voters besides training of a large number of staff.

Condemning PTI workers attacks on media persons at Lahore, he said that an egoistic person spread the culture of non-tolerance in the nation and that Imran Khan has poisoned the youth with intolerance and chaos.

Hamza Khan, PMLN Nowshera district president claimed that inspite of the fact that PML-N had emerged as the largest political party in the Punjab Assembly in 2018, it was not allowed to form its government due to massive horse trading by the PTI.

He said it would be very difficult for PTI to form its government in Punjab this time due to the lack of Jehangir Tareen factor and poor performance of Imran and Buzdar governments.

He feared that Imran Khan would likely to start more confrontation and rigging allegations like he did after 2013 general election against the centre, ECP and Punjab caretaker government if PMLN wins the election in its stronghold of the Punjab province.

The agitation so apprehended may continue and merge into the general election campaign for the National Assembly, which will start soon after it completes its 5-year term in August this year. Therefore, a long period of instability may occur even if the two provincial elections take place early.

The practice of two separate elections would continue in the future that would put an extraordinary burden on the country’s fragile economy and continuity of ceaseless political instability in the country.

The violent clash of PTI workers with Lahore police has negated the tall claims of the former of being champion of justice and supremacy of institutions that resulted in death of one person.

“If a three times elected Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif can face court cases and imprisonment then why not Imran Khan. Was Imran Khan above the laws of Pakistan,” he asked.

He said PTI Chief was continuously evading court appearances by displaying his plastered leg and at the same time was staging rallies.

PTI government has itself closed own created Ehtasab Commission at Peshawar that exposed Imran Khan tall anti-corruption slogans.

The billion trees project was taken over by the NAB and BRT was completed four times higher cost compared to Lahore and Islamabad metros, thus PTI wasted huge taxpayer money.

He said Rs 417 billion were provided to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2010 under the NFC award including the period of 10 years of PTI and questioned that why standard things like a safe city project, forensics, and DNA labs were not established and why the counter-terrorism department was not fully equipped in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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