In all democratic countries of the world, the Election Commission is considered an awe-inspiring institution. It is a permanent institution of the state and keeps dealing with multiple issues on daily basis. You and I discover The Election Commission’s real worth, even existence, during the season of a general election. But politicians, especially the type pretending to respect and practising the elected democracy, can’t afford to act indifferent to its existence and functioning.

Now, consider the conduct of our worthy politicians in the abovementioned context. Since February of this year, two members of our Election Commission representing the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan had been retired. The government and the opposition could yet not agree on names, who should fill the vacant offices. Ten months were wasted in sheer negligence. And on Thursday, December 5, 2019, the incumbent Chief Election Commissioner will also retire and both the government and the opposition have still not decided who should replace him.

Article 215 of our Constitution, clearly prescribes the procedure when it comes to the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and members assisting him or her. Essentially, the prescribed procedure had been designed to ensure neutrality and effective empowerment of the Election Commission. The procedure, in effect, demands bipartisan consensus and “meaningful consultations” between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition as well.

We are condemned to suffer a dangerously polarized politics these days. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party strongly feel that the opposition they have primarily represents “looters and plunderers.”

The PML-N President and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif is rather perceived as a “serial money launderer” by the ruling party. Prime Minister Imran Khan even hates casually nodding to him as a mere expression of recognition during the assembly proceedings.

In the absence of any communication between the prime minister and the opposition leader, people representing them in the parliamentary committee, specifically established to find a Chief Election Commissioner and members of this institution, almost shiver to develop consensus through meaningful consultation. And we are not sure for how long the Election Commission would remain a headless body, existing like a cruel joke without two of its members as well.

Apparently, our dilemma does not end there. Almost a week ago, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had clearly directed our elected parliament to specifically legislate rules that should set the tenure of a Chief of Army Staff and deal with the question of extension or no extension.

Compared with the office of the Chief Election Commissioner, the status, clout and the aura of the Chief of the Army, equipped with nuclear weapons, are far more formidable. I simply fail to imagine the current parliament, which miserably failed to develop consensus on a relatively “routine issue,” i.e., the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, smoothly living up to the Supreme Court’s expectations for setting the rules for the tenure of an Army Chief.

Recklessly disregarding the daunting tasks, already crowding their table, the opposition seemed preferring to score points by wailing over the issue of Kashmir. After the question hour, Ahsan Iqbal of the PML-N took the floor on a point of order to remind the government that since August 5, 2019, Indian Occupied Kashmir continued to look like a huge prison.

The Imran government, he insisted, had failed to motivate the so-called world conscience to manage some relief for 8 million Kashmiris, even after the passage of so many months. Raja Pervez Ashraf of the PPP endorsed his position and so did Maulana Akbar Chitrali of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

In sheer anger, the JI Maulana even pressed for declaration of Jihad for the liberation of Kashmir and promised to furnish at least 10,000 soldiers to wage it from Chitral.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the foreign minister, was almost contemptuous to dispel the accusation that the Imran government had been letting the Modi government get away with brute repression in Occupied Kashmir, due to its laxity or by deliberately adopting the alleged indifference.

He went on and on to make us believe as if in all the world capitals and international forums, the miseries of Kashmiris were being actively discussed these days. India is being relentlessly condemned for its brute conduct and it feels ashamed for having no convincing case, justifying its conduct in Occupied Kashmir. And all this was happening due to devoted initiatives taken by the Prime Minister, who had been talking nonstop to global leaders as a dedicated “Ambassador of Kashmir.” Pakistan’s Foreign Office also keeps the issue alive with diligent following up missions and lobbying.

Ahsan Iqbal was yet not satisfied. He strongly desired that an emergency should be declared on the diplomatic front to motivate the so-called global conscience on Kashmir. If nothing else, the Imran government should at least start working for holding a special summit of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to show it to the world that “Muslim Ummah” firmly stands by Kashmiris, stifling under the Indian occupation.

Ahsan Iqbal is an Ivy League product. He needs no tutor to fathom the intensity and importance of the pampering that Narendra Modi had relished while being invited to some of our “brotherly countries,” even after brutally behaving vis-à-vis Indian Occupied Kashmir on August 5, 2019.

Perhaps to keep that in mind, he had to suggest that if the OIC failed to hold an emergency summit on the issue of Kashmir, Pakistan should pull itself out of the said organisation.

I felt inconsolably sad to watch nothing but point-scoring rhetoric; both the foreign minister and his opponents resorted to on a deeply saddening issue. They also sounded almost oblivious to a plethora of new crises that the Modi government had brought to Indian Occupied Kashmir since August 5, 2019. All these crises are painful existential, if you care to ponder somewhat deeply.

Urdu, for example, had remained the medium of instruction, even after the occupation of Kashmir by India in 1947. Once a “semi-autonomous state” preserving its specific cultural identity, Jammu and Kashmir had now been split from Laddakh. Both these areas had been declared “Union Territory,” directly ruled from New Delhi.

Hindi is the official language of the “Union Territories” of India and it also has to be adopted as a medium of instruction in these territories. Even for the use of Kashmiri language, the Modi government is adamantly determined to enforce the Devnagri script, that is completely alien to Arabic and Persian friendly Kashmiris. And that is just the beginning of the “GAZAFICATION” that the Hindutava-driven Modi government obsessively wants to impose on 8 million Kashmiris, gasping under its occupation.

For God’s sake, before delivering the bombastic speeches on Kashmir, try to get the latest on the existentialist crises that the eight million of its habitants are enduring since August 5, 2019.