LAHORE -  A provincial minister has decided to quit politics after about five decades in the field, disappointed that what should be regarded as worship has been turned into business by the “investors”.

Mian Ata Muhammad Maneka, Minister for Revenue, told The Nation on Sunday that he would not contest the next elections as he feels totally misfit in the existing system which he insists serves the interests of the rulers, not the voters.

During these five decades he won one national and four provincial elections, and got an opportunity to see the working of various important leaders.

Pointing out the flaws in the existing system, Mian Maneka (PP-227) said it could not be called democracy as the common man had no role to play in it except casting vote in favour of one candidate or the other.

He said that it was regrettable that a candidate could get elected by minority votes because majority of votes against cast him are divided among rival candidates.

He suggested that only a candidate bagging 51 per cent of the votes should be declared successful, and election on a seat should be held again and again unless someone meets this yardstick.

A person getting less than 51 per cent votes, he said, cannot claim to be the representative of the constituency.

To bring about an improvement in the existing system, he said that some educational qualification (preferably graduation) should be prescribed for all candidates for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies seats.

And only such candidates should be allowed to contest as are awarded tickets by national parties, he said.

There should be a complete ban on independent candidates as they serve no national interest, Mian Maneka said.

Independent candidates, after getting elected, join various parties, mostly the ones that offer them more financial and other incentives as such people are not loyal to anyone except themselves, he said.

The Revenue Minister said that there was an urgent need for setting a yardstick for a voter. The vote of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and an illiterate should not be equal, he said.

Responding to a question, Mian Maneka said that the existing system had been tailored by colonial powers for their own interests.

In his opinion, the common man had got nothing out of the present system over the past 70 years and would not get anything during another 170 years.

He pointed out that Ministers were totally powerless as under the Rules of Business all powers rested with the Secretaries.

A Minister, he complained, cannot transfer even a peon.

Similarly, he said, that under the existing system nobody could dare disagree with the party policy, no matter how brilliant his opinion.

In response to another question, he said that some system should be evolved to monitor the performance of all the Ministers.

At present, he said, there was no such system in place and expertise in sycophancy was the major consideration for induction in Cabinet.  

Asked whether he would agree that the role of legislators should be confined to lawmaking, Mian Maneka said as a matter of principle it should be so but it was impracticable in Pakistan.

In this country, he said, a Parliamentarian could not afford to say no to his voter, no matter what the nature of his request.

According to him, only traders and businessmen could take part in the elections and those belonging to farming community could not compete with them.

He cited the example of a debutant in politics who won an election in his area only because of money. 

This man, he said, got 80,000 votes against only 40,000 polled by his opponent belonging to the PML-N.

He complained that voter had become money-conscious and his personal interest was dearer to him than national interest.

He alleged that even District Council members sold their votes for more than Rs 2.5 million each, which was matter of serious concern for the entire nation.

If the trend was not discouraged, he warned, the day was not far off when investors would completely take over politics.

Expressing serious concern over the changing trends in politics, Mian Maneka said that at present the man who matters is the one who counts the votes, not the one who casts the vote.

“What is real democracy is not there in Pakistan at all”.

Mian Maneka said that his son would contest the next elections from his seat (PP-227) and he would be free to join any political party.