LAHORE - A number of political parties have expressed serious reservations about the changes they allege the government has made in the original route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. And the government plans to hold an all-party conference to address the reservations.
The news about the proposed APC has been broken by an aide to the prime minister who has just been promoted to the rank of an adviser.
There can’t be a more effective way to make the elected parliament redundant. And if the $46 billion project, being regarded as a game changer for Pakistan, has to be discussed by a set of people to be invited to the moot, the government should better disband the parliament. There is no justification left to have the parliament at all and spend billions of rupees on it.
Already, the performance of the parliament is not satisfactory by any standard and the elected houses are not playing the kind of role they are supposed to be playing. They want unbridled control over everything, even the intelligence agencies. But their capacity to deliver is zero.
The result is that important policy decisions, especially concerning foreign affairs, are taken by those who, apparently, have nothing to do with such matters. But since the elected representatives don’t take much interest in their job, the void is filled by the unelected people.
It’s an open secret that the parliamentarians are more interested in the benefits they get entitlement for because of their status as elected representatives. Their interest in the business they are elected for is exposed very frequently when the assembly sessions are adjourned because of lack of quorum. At times the sessions are continued despite a lack of quorum because on one in the house points out that the members are not present in the required numbers.
Truancy is deep-rooted among many legislators.
It will be better if the government compiles a comprehensive report on the performance of every legislator. The speeches made by them on various subjects, development funds received by them, development schemes completed by them in their respective constituencies, jobs they got to their relatives, friends or constituents, loans they got from various institutions and later got them written off using their influence, and details of their assets should be mentioned in these reports. These reports should also be made public for the benefit of the voters.
Once the performance or lack of it of every legislator is made public the voters will be in a better position to take a decision on whether or not to vote for such people in the next election. If the election has to be made a mode of accountability, it will not be possible in the absence of such an arrangement. Otherwise, the elected representatives will continue to line their pockets and fool their constituents through bogus claims.
In the prevailing situation the election in Pakistan is not the right way of holding anyone accountable.
There may be many people who join politics to make certain amounts of money through whatever practices they get a chance to employ. Once their target is achieved, it would not make much difference for them if voters reject them in the next election.
But there is little possibility of the government agreeing to the proposal of a performance report of every parliamentarian. The reason is that the ruling party also may have many such people in its ranks who have specific money making targets before them.
The elected representatives should be like role models to the nation. They should set personal examples of good performance and conduct. If non-performing bureaucrats or ordinary employees of private organisations can be taken to task, legislators with bad performance should also be subjected to the same yardstick. There should be no exceptions at all.