NA-122 verdict — the pendulum swings

We now hope that the PTI does not once again go down the Dharna Road as is being trailed by Imran Khan

Editorial August 23, 2015
PTI chief Imran Khan celebrates with party members after NA-122 verdict. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The unseating of the speaker of the lower house of Parliament by the election tribunal is being hailed as a victory by Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). This comes as something of a respite for the PTI after the rejection of its claims of mass organised rigging in the 2013 elections by the judicial commission (JC). The decision in respect of NA-122 is going to do nothing to alter the overall balance of power in parliament as the PML-N has a considerable majority, but it will be something of a dent in its claim to the occupancy of the moral high ground.

Whilst there is no evidence of a nationwide organised conspiracy to rig the last general election, there are mountains of evidence of incompetence, corruption, localised rigging and the denial of the right to vote. The JC uncovered evidence of widespread failure to follow standard operating procedures by returning officers and other electoral officials, and was particularly critical of the role — or rather the lack of a role — played by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which fared particularly badly in the judgment of the JC. It is this mountain of evidence now revealed that gives some credence to the initial claims of the PTI, even if the principal plank of its argument was found wanting. There seems to be no reason to doubt the findings of the election tribunal and the house is going to need a new speaker — who may or may not come from NA-122, depending on the outcome of the by-election, if it does take place given that Ayaz Sadiq has the right to appeal the verdict in the courts.

We now hope that the PTI does not once again go down the Dharna Road as is being trailed by Imran Khan who is threatening a gathering outside the ECP to exceed in size that which clogged the political arteries last year. The prospect of another 126 days of paralysis does nothing for the democratic experiment currently in process. Mr Khan would be better advised to get himself and his colleagues back inside the house — and proceed therefrom with dignity rather than dharna.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th,  2015.

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Abid Shah Mashwani | 6 years ago | Reply I would like to make two observations: 1) @ Ms Najia Omar Jafri - PTI MNAs/MPAs were on streets with the same public who voted them into the parliament to get them their stolen mandate, and rights of free and fair election. They were not disqualified for a rigged election. Mr. Speaker being the custodian of the house did the right thing when court disclosed to public that Mr. Speaker is in the NA as a result of flawed or rigged or stolen election. 2) If PTI choose to go for dharna against corrupt or incompetent officials of the EC, as disclosed by both Joint Commission and Election Tribunal, it will be better PTI should avoid a solo flight instead they should consult PPP (Punjab chapter), PMLQ, PAT, JI, and those who shared same grievances against ECP. Yes leaders of some of these parties may not support PTI Dharna as they may have been the beneficiaries of the corrupt in other parts of the country such as PPP in Sindh rural, but at least their workers especially from Punjab will share same concern as PTI against ECP. A joint dharna doesnt mean you joined hands with PPP. Also such a dharna will allow these parties to jointly force Election reform committee in the parliament to make useful changes to election process and force corrupt election officials to resign.
mjk | 6 years ago | Reply Always remember JC's words; 'The 2013 elections were FAIR and IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW.' Nateeja aapkay saamnay hai. How do you explain these important seats?
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