Let horse-trading stop already

Published: February 7, 2013
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If Pakistani voters continue to give a free pass to politicians, then this cycle of horse-trading will never come to an end. PHOTO: AFP

An influential clan of Ghotki has left Party A for Party B. Sons of a governor have decided to join Party C. Meanwhile, the swashbuckling chief of a youth-centred party claimed last November that he only needed youngsters, not big-shot politicians, in his party.

That was after he had welcomed a battalion of such politicians during the course of a few months.

Welcome to election season in Pakistan! The season when major political parties auction tickets for electoral seats to the highest bidder. Individuals and heads of parties negotiate the price of the former joining the latter, in terms of the number of cabinet positions, with perhaps a couple of adviser seats thrown in as goodwill.

Meanwhile, as the country’s political elite was busy discussing these important issues, a Canadian national decided to jump into the fray, and asked thousands of people, including women and children, to camp out near parliament in the middle of winter in Islamabad.

And what for? Certainly not to protest against the regular breakdown of law and order in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar or the rest of the country. But because of a couple of whims he had over the functioning of the election commission.

Given a “declaration” that had been signed by the prime minister, the Canadian national decided to call it quits and told his followers to go back home.

Welcome to election season in Pakistan!

The way these ‘influential’ politicians, clansmen, and religious leaders behave as elections draw nearer, and the expectations they attach to their supporters, you get the impression that they think of their constituents as merely chattel, who are ready to come out on the streets whenever they are summoned.

If that’s the case, then what good would all these electoral reforms do?

If Pakistani voters continue to give a free pass to politicians and political parties who they have been voting in for decades, then this cycle of horse-trading will never come to an end.

No matter how many constitutional amendments are passed to ban this reprehensible exercise, they would not make any difference unless citizens get over this herd mentality.

They need to vote out their so-called leaders with their feet if they think that they did not meet their expectations.

God knows we could do with a fresh batch of lawmakers.

Read more by Ali here.

Ali.Mehdi

Ali Mehdi

A sub-editor for the Karachi pages at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.