Calling for broad-based electoral reforms, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday urged all concerned to put an end to ‘manipulated political transfer’ which he said has been the bane of Pakistan’s political landscape for six decades.
Although the PPP media wing, which issued the statement, attributed it to the formation of the proposed judicial commission to probe rigging allegations in the May 2013 elections, the choice of words appeared ambiguous and seemed to convey several different contexts.
“There is a pressing need for comprehensively addressing issues in election malpractices before, during and after elections with broad-based consensus of all political parties and stakeholders. Except for temporarily lowering political temperatures, the agreed judicial commission, unfortunately, does not address fundamental issues in Pakistan’s electoral landscape,” the PPP leader said.
Amid speculation that authorities will expand the recent crackdown against MQM to include other Karachi-based parties said to have militant wings, political analysts see Zardari’s statement as being motivated by the fear that some forces are out to marginalise the PPP. Racking up pressure on the PPP and MQM in their stronghold, they said, would create more political space for the PTI and JI.
Zardari called on all political parties to forge consensus on necessary measures which need to be taken, either by way of amending the Constitution or through purely administrative channels, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.
He asked the government to expedite working of the multiparty parliamentary committee to formulate a comprehensive electoral reforms package. The panel has been virtually dormant since December.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2015.