As the expected date of the general elections is drawing nearer the political activity in the country is gathering momentum with each passing day. Many a political pundit is predicting the future and a lot is being talked about and discussed over the electronic media in this regard. Almost all politicians and the political parties are trying their best to make us believe that they alone shall be the future saviours of the country and that they are dying to serve the masses. However, a large silent but saner majority is quite apprehensive that as things are shaping and the covert and overt political maneuvering is taking place in the federal and the provincial capitals, the same kind of the leaders might once again return to power by the naïve and simple voters.

If the performance of the Election Commission during the recently held by-elections is to be taken as a measure of their competence then not much can be expected of it to ensure complete free and fair elections. Most political parties do not seem to have any good of the masses at heart and the only consideration and concern for them seems to be to win as many seats as possible by hook or by crook, and to them the easiest way to achieve this end is to field potent vote getters who are, unfortunately, from the moneyed class with a feudalistic mindset. They can either buy the voters or bulldoze their way forcibly through the ECP procedural fences of propriety and adherence to the rules and regulations.

What can be done in such a situation to ensure electing good people to govern? The political parties are likely to field the same kind of vote getters irrespective of their having any sterling qualities, vision or ability to govern. Not much has been either been done previously nor is it expected now from the judiciary or the ECP to invoke articles 62 and 63 of the constitution on their own that lays down the qualifications for the selection of the legislators. Some of the qualities required under Article 62 are:

“That he is of a good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions; he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins, he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest, that he has not been convicted for a crime involving moral turpitude or for giving false evidence; he has not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the Ideology of Pakistan.” In light of the above proclamations does even one person, among the thousands of politicians, fall? This alone would qualify all of them.

COL. RIAZ JAFRI (R),

Rawalpindi, December 9.