The rituals involved in the transfer of power should not usually be an issue in democracies. But for us, watching a constitutional transition from one democratic set-up to another is a unique experience and it is one we can rejoice in. For the first time in our history, things have happened as they should, without intervention from outside and indeed, without disruption of any kind.
On June 3, the PML-N candidate, Ayaz Sadiq, was elected as the speaker of the National Assembly with 258 votes, while the PML-N nominee, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, was elected as the deputy speaker. The outgoing speaker, Dr Fehmida Mirza, conducted proceedings and wished the new speaker well as he took over what will be a key office in the new legislature. At the PML-N’s request, the PPP had withdrawn its candidates. The PML-N success in a chamber within which it holds a comfortable simple majority came as no surprise, but the spirit shown, with all the right gestures made from all sides is significant given our troubled democratic past. We must hope this marks a way forward for the future and sets us along a path we will not stray away from.
In the provinces too, things have gone well. The speakers and deputy speakers have taken charge with minimal fuss, the chief ministers in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are in place and the other chief executives will be too. The pre-poll predictions of doom have, mercifully, not come true and these are developments we warmly welcome. We must hope now that the elected governments, too, are able to serve the people and prove that the unhindered spinning of the circle of democracy can bring multiple benefits. This is something that needs to be established in a country where democracy has repeatedly been termed an unsuitable system. The events of the past few days should help quash this idea and guide us along a road which can help establish our nation as one within which democracy thrives.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2013.
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Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that Sher Ali Gorchani was nominated as the deputy speaker of NA. The error has been rectified.
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