Trials and tribulations

The inconsistency in the tribunal decisions will leave a stain over the electoral process.


Editorial April 16, 2013
Legal experts have argued only a conviction should lead to the disqualification of a person under the clauses concerned. PHOTO: FILE

This time, former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will not be contesting elections. The PPP will need to find another candidate for his seat in Gujjar Khan. Mr Ashraf’s appeal against his disqualification was not upheld by a Rawalpindi election tribunal, which ruled that he did not meet the criterion laid out under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Its grounds were Mr Ashraf’s award of a contract to the National Logistics Cell, his involvement in the Rental Power Projects scandal and a letter written to the Supreme Court deemed contemptuous by it. This list has been enough to disqualify Mr Ashraf.

The verdict will only raise more questions about the two controversial constitutional articles. The fact is that in none of the cases mentioned was Mr Ashraf convicted. Legal experts have argued only a conviction should lead to the disqualification of a person under the clauses concerned. Ashraf has, of course, not been found guilty in any of the cases against him.

The whole matter will raise new doubts about the manner in which the electoral scrutiny process has taken place and specifically about the use of Articles 62 and 63. It would appear that no uniform standard has been applied, leading to a great many doubts and controversies over everything that has transpired over the last few weeks. Many would say that if Ashraf has been disqualified, others should have met the same fate as well.

The inconsistency in the tribunal decisions will leave a stain over the electoral process. It is one that cannot be easily wiped away. For the future, the whole matter will need to be thought out more carefully and means found to set more even standards. At the moment, there are too many accusations of unfair play and this will not help the elections proceed in as smooth a manner as we had hoped would happen. It is, of course, vital that the entire procedure for elections be carefully worked out and consistently followed. This does not appear to have happened and as a result, many doubts will surround the methods used and the decisions taken by the tribunals set up to determine the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2013. 

COMMENTS (2)

cautious | 8 years ago | Reply

Spot on Editorial. Misusing judicial system to torpedo election is no better than disqualifying candidate because of bogus religion knowledge . The disqualified candidates maybe inept/corrupt guys who don't deserve office but until they are actually found guilty the voters should be the sole judge of whether they are qualified for office - that's how Democracy works.

Mirza | 8 years ago | Reply A very fair and sensible editorial by the ET. You are right “Legal experts have argued only a conviction should lead to the disqualification of a person under the clauses concerned. Ashraf has, of course, not been found guilty in any of the cases” However, Zardari was kept in jail for more than a decade without being proven guilty of a single charge. Yet the same judges wanted prompt restoration from him after Mush threw them in detention. This election/selection is like the last. Eliminate the top two candidates of PPP who could be potential PM. Kill some of the others and win elections as a walkover. This is the change that some have been talking about and that is why there is no outrage against the elimination of political leaders from the scene.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read