Elections 2013: PPP should complete its five-year term
The military has ruled for over 30 years and we have only had 20 years or so of interrupted democracy since 1971.
The current PPP-led government has, at the most, another seven months in office before it completes its five-year term in March, 2013. However, opposition parties such as the PML-N and the PTI are calling for the ruling coalition to hold early elections, keeping in mind the tensions between the government and the judiciary that have led to political instability in the country.
The question before us is whether elections will be held in March, 2013 or will the government be forced to call snap pools? Or, whether elections will be held at all in the foreseeable future?
There are several hypothetical situations. The Supreme Court could disqualify the prime minister again for having committed contempt of court by not implementing the NRO verdict and if this time, the ruling party is unsuccessful in electing a third prime minister, it would have no option but to call for an early election within 90 days. Another possibility is that the government successfully manages to linger on for another seven months, as it has for the past four years, and calls for elections in March, 2013.
However, many conspiracy theorists have been talking about a third scenario in which the government and the opposition fail to reach a consensus on a caretaker set-up.
In this case, the chief election commissioner would have to appoint a caretaker prime minister and a cabinet. According to this theory, the caretaker government would seek a mandate of a year or more in order to bring stability in the country and to address the energy crisis before elections can be held. It is also being said that if this situation does come to pass, many politicians, bureaucrats, judges and other top officials would be tried for corruption that they may have committed while in office.
Whatever the view of the conspiracy theorists, I feel that the current government should be allowed to complete its five-year term and elections should be held as scheduled in March, 2013.
In Pakistan’s 64-year history, the military has ruled for over 30 years and we have only had 20 years or so of interrupted democracy since 1971. It takes time for democracy to evolve and successive, uninterrupted democratic governments are the only way to make sure that we have a system in place that truly represents the aspirations of the people.