Contempt of public mandate is unjustified

January 28,2018

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There is no way to the corridors of power through contempt of public mandate, the demonstration of which the people saw the other day when PTI chief Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid, hurled contemptuous curses (‘Laanat’) on the parliament during their fiery speeches delivered at Lahore Dharna (sit-in).

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, has rightly condemned the two leaders on this account and condemned the un-parliamentary language used against the prime national institution, the parliament that comes into being through public mandate which means the will of the people.

In democracy, the will of the people is supreme and the authority vested in different national institutions flows from the people’s will and mandate.

Shah’s point is valid in all respects particularly his statement that how can the parliament, as a whole, be blamed for the failures of the government?

Obviously, Imran Khan and Sh Rashid have no reasonable answer to this question posed by Leader of the Opposition.

The overall impression that the two critics of parliament have created is that they are restless about grabbing power by hook or by crook as if they probably don’t believe in the electoral system for reaching to the zenith in the democratic dispensation.

The latest National Assembly resolution criticizing the damnation and cursing of the parliament is justified, particularly for maintaining the sanctity of public mandate. After all, which is the biggest custodian and platform of public mandate? Of course, it is the parliament. It is in this context that the learned Chief Justice of Pakistan has expressed his sentiments of respect for parliament.

But, quite shockingly, the two parliamentarians, Imran Khan and Sh Rashid, claim that they are justified in cursing the parliament, en bloc, although, in reality, Imran Khan is quite eager to become the prime minister of the country through the parliamentary system.

And it is ironical that Imran Khan has defended this cursing of the parliament for which purpose he has stated that he said all that in a specific context.

The justification that Khan is presenting is the re-election of Nawaz Sharif as head of Pakistan Muslim League-N after his disqualification by the Supreme Court.

This justification, in itself, is paradoxical because the disqualified prime minister has not been re-elected as his party head by the parliament, as in institution, but by the party-members belonging to PML-N.

The things become quite disgusting from the democratic point of view because people look towards their leaders including widely popular leaders like Imran Khan, for guidance.

Leaders are copied and emulated by the masses. As such, the leaders’ role is that of educators who are presenting role models to the people to be followed in return.

This educational and guiding role of the leaders also requires of the politicians to educate themselves and avoid making contemptuous remarks against the national institutions.

Isn’t the parliament a national institution?

Can we strengthen and reform the parliament and the system by hurling abuses or does it require reposing of trust in the parliament to make it more vibrant and effective from the angle of public expectations and democratic values?

If the parliaments of the past have failed to come up to the mark or people’s expectations, it also owed to the unjustified intervention by undemocratic elements although

these elements have most often been prodded and prompted by disgruntled

and eager-for-power politicians.

If condemnation was so necessary, such undemocratic attitudes and moves should have been condemned instead of mass denunciation of the parliament as an institution.

Of course, Imran Khan must not have seriously desired contempt of the public mandate or parliament but his fiery speech and loud cursing is in itself a discouraging factor for democracy’s growth as the stated positions or statements also create a specific environment that does not augur well for the country in any way.


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