After a year of predictions of whether or not the Senate elections will take place on time, the entire adventure is finally over. The biggest concern at this moment is that this timely action should push and encourage the smooth functioning of the government. The elected members should work together with the government to work on preparing for the upcoming general elections. However there are concerns which need to be addressed before the process is pushed ahead.

Majority of the political parties involved in the elections are raising their voice against the “horse trading” that allegedly took place as in the elections. This even includes parties like Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Mutahhida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is not so curiously silent about the situation – as it is the party that is being accused by MQM of harassing their 15 Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) into changing their loyalty. Perhaps an investigation is merited at the moment, if all parties are demanding one. However, this is entirely dependent on whether or not we have existing laws in the legislature pertaining to the situation. More judicial activism – and the political uncertainty and delays that it inevitably brings – is in no one’s interest.

Another aspect to be noted in this situation is the fact that as soon as Senate elections were announced and MPAs of PML-N were forced to run as independent candidates, there were voices raising their concern that an environment of horse-trading would be created. These concerns should have been addressed there and then. At the same time, it must also be noted that not voting in favour of your own party in the Senate elections is not illegal according to the constitution of Pakistan. Whatever action the court decides to take must be within the bounds of the law and not exceeding its limit. There is barely any time for constitutional revisions.

In the same vein of smooth governmental continuity, it is time that a decision is taken regarding the PML-N backed MPAs who contested the elections. While the constitutional provision on this may be silent, the electoral rule dictates that those members can re-join the party within three days of the Senate elections. It is only feasible to take into account these documents to reach a plausible conclusion in this regard. The sooner the better; because from here onwards the members cannot participate without a party affiliation.