Election season is upon us and air is redolent with the signature scent that political-parties wear so well; the smell of undisguised malice. The stronger contenders have been identified; the first blood has been drawn. Now is the time for the much awaited theatrics of mud-slinging and gauntlet-throwing that has defined the Pakistani electoral process for years on end.

Setting the stage for the scorching verbal exchange that is yet to come; Bilawal Bhutto Zardari dares the PML-N to bring their nominee for Senate Chairman, vowing to nominate the chairman from the opposition parties as per the conundrum of the independent status of the PML-N nominees.

Bolstered by unprecedented gains in the elections, the PPP Chairman claims that his party still has majority in the upper house and thus has the right to nominate its member for the role of Senate chairman. The statement does carry weight as PPP has won 12 seats in Saturday’s Senate polls, taking its total strength in house to 20. The PML-N backed ‘independent’ candidates have won 15 seats and while with help of its allies the ruling party could bring its chairman quite easily, yet the technicality still stands that as the PML-N candidates are competing shorn of their party affiliation (as per the ouster of the party chief and negation of his tickets), that deems the PPP as, ipso facto, a majority party in the senate.

With the Punjab-centric focus and regional stronghold of the PML-N in the parliament, it is a good argument that the chairman of Senate should belong to the opposition for the sake of check and balance on the system of governance as the Senate has to oversee the role of the National Assembly.

However, where the opposition parties were unable to join forces before the elections it seems highly improbable that they would put aside their personal motivations and grievances to agree on a nominating a unanimously elected candidate now, much so as the exchange of heated allegations of horse-trading is all that the political parties have in common.

This bravado/spite driven response of major political parties to the results of the Senate election and the race to secure the Senate Chairmanship represents the crux of the failings of our government –bureaucratic matrix i.e. the petty pageantry of political parties that seeps into the Senate electorate and ultimately translates into the undertakings of Parliament. The divisive motivations and juvenile blustering continues long after the electoral process reducing the democratic process, one that should integrate representation and concerns from all provinces, to theatrical standoffs restricted to a docket of high profile power-grabbing subjects dictated by trivial party rivalries.