Thursday May 23, 2024

I am election 2018

By Senator Rehman Malik
June 26, 2018

Elections come and go but this time I am the special one as there were so many speculations about me before my final announcement and it looked as if I would not become reality.

Why I say I am special election, it was because I got many changes in the elections reforms/laws, which were not there in previous elections. I would want you to know about those reforms as follows:

The Elections Act 2017 has granted permission to disqualified politicians to lead a political party or hold a public office. It allows every citizen except for government officials to form a party or hold public office.

ECP has been empowered in a way that it has all the powers equal to those of a high court to try contempt proceedings against anyone. Election Commission can now also take disciplinary action against any election official under Efficiency and Discipline Rules, being competent authority of such official.

The Act empowers the ECP to take penal action against those found guilty of corrupt practices, illegal practices and violation of official duty, which may extend to two years or with fine. The ECP now has more powers and authorities than it ever had as it is now charged with making rules for the conduct of elections including the provisions for anything that is not explained in the law.

The ECP is now empowered to declare any poll void if there are grave irregularities and violations of Election Rules which material affect the results of polls. It has also powers now to declare a poll void if the turnout of women voters is less than 10% of the total votes presuming that women voters have been restrained through an agreement from casting their votes.

The ECP would not take special measures for registration of votes of non-Muslim, persons with disability and transgender citizens.

The Act also imposes a fine of up to Rs0.1 million for lawmakers or three years in jail if they fail to declare the right details of their assets. The lawmakers found in such irregularities would be terminated within 60 days.

The Elections Act has introduced the delimitation of constituencies, as constituency boundaries would be revised after every census.

The ECP is required to prepare a plan for the conduct of elections four months in advance of a general election and is required to take measures to enhance the transparency of the results process.

The Act has provided for introduction of result transmission system whereby the Presiding Officer and the Returning Officer would send electronically the snap shots of the result of the count, to the Commission, as quickly as the connectivity would become available.

In case victory margin was less than 5 percent or 10,000 votes, recounting of votes would become necessary.

Caretaker is not given the right to make bigger policies in any aspect of the state affairs.

Women’s participation as candidates has been enhanced as it would be a requirement for political parties to field women candidates on at least 5% of general seats for National Assembly and provincial assembly elections.

Political parties and candidates will now have 28 instead of 21 days for running the election campaign.

Citizens would be automatically registered for voting once they are issued their CNIC.

I have a unique distinction that there is so much horse-trading before my election and many candidates consider to win 2018 election by joining the race of electable and it is me who broke the record of getting maximum electable at one forum. The leaders are scared of losing me hence I am exposed to get my price raised every day with the passage of time. I am moving forward at my pace despite some may not see me actualising.

It seems as if, with the passage of time my bidding will rise higher and higher and 2018 election may not stay within the reach of a common man. I fear to become slave in the hands of those who have ill-gotten money and some known mafias who can purchase me from streets to villages. However, my increasingly high price would not be good for democracy.

I fear that I am now becoming a toy in the hands of few political parties and they are taking me for granted. I have now an increasing large number of independents clients who do not want to be part of any political party for obvious reasons and God knows how they have perceived that independents members would decide the future prime minister of Pakistan.

It looks independents have found a high yield profitable business to be independent parliamentarians being not only the part of powerful pressure group but also to become the part of the auction group. My fears are increasing day by day, as there are chances that in the end of the polling, the price of the winning independents would go further higher and from 26th of July onwards trading in my name would be there. Most of the independent elected members will be in the market for auction and it will be painful for me as there would be no law to prevent the said future horse-trading.

2018 looks to be my year as I would witness the horse-trading and the auction of the highest executive post and hence I foresee some unexpected candidate for the prime ministership in this process and a desperate aspirant may not get it. Let us see which groups manage to be in the lead.

I feel that in the given situation I would produce only a hung parliament to the country and to the people. It is not my fault but the fault of the people who either do not exercise their right of vote or they did not exercise it rightly. They allowed rigging under their nose but showed no reaction to it. People have a lot of hopes with me as they are expecting prosperity and some good change through elections 2018. Unfortunately I wished for the same but as the old candidates are entering into my domain and the people are fully aware of their past performance so, no change can be expected.

It will be unfortunate that the future protectors of law who are product of horse-trading would be occupying the sacred house of Parliament. I wish I would have given the best and clean representatives for my nation but it can be possible only if people decide to vote for the people who are honest and clean not for the ones who sell their conscious.

Having expressed my fear of horse-trading prior to poll, would these elections be termed as rigged elections once again? I want people to kindly save me from being called a rigged election by casting vote for the right candidate being vigilant. I appeal to all of you to come out and vote for the person who deserves it. Make me proud as 2018 election.

I am also having vibes that my date of election might be delayed as some politicians are being heard saying that no proper delimitation as per the constitution has been done and that 25th of July would be a hot day besides being season of floods in the whole country. If all these hue and cries would be taken into consideration then perhaps the caretaker might get me delayed and if I am delayed then the horse-trading will also be delayed. Anyway, time will tell whether the delay would be beneficial or harmful for the system.

I election 2018, however, once again appeal to all the voters to make me special by voting for the right candidates and reject all those who will put your mandate to auction.

The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former interior minister of Pakistan, @Email: rmalik1212@gmail .com, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393