It can only happen in Pakistan. Gross irregularities are committed by the election staff. No one is punished; the beneficiary gets reelected through the same irregular process and will occupy the speaker’s seat again with no remorse or apologies. Can he be termed as an irregular speaker of an irrelevant parliament?

Human have to be regular otherwise the system gets choked. Abdullah Shah as Benazir’s Chief Minister (CM) in Sindh once remarked that he has to do file work even while sitting on the commode which clearly indicated constipation. After the dismissal of the government by President Farooq Leghari he went into self exile in California and is now buried there.

Both in Urdu and English language the word ‘Kala’ or ‘Black’ has special significance. During the lawyers’ movement, when Ahmed Raza Qasuri came to defend the dictator his face was painted black as part of the protest. Recently when Chairman PCB visited India the members of Hindu Fundamentalist organization Shiv Sena threw black ink on the face of BCCI officials. Black is the darkest colour known to mankind, it is opposite of white. ‘Kala Mou’ (Blackened face), Kala Dhanda (Black market, black mail, black magic), kali Baher (Black Sheep) all those terms represent evil. In English there is another term ‘Blackleg’ (Kali Tang) which is not in frequent use these days but is very appropriate for our electoral system (one who systematically tries to win by cheating). When a system is violated and irregularities are committed the end result is ‘kala Mou’ (Blackened face), those who indulge and these who benefit from ‘Kala Dhanda’ fall into this category.

The Persian intellectual Saadi Shirazi wrote several moral stories. In one of his stories a person was caught stealing. As a punishment his head was shaved, face blackened and was made to ride a donkey for the town people to see the tainted soul and to humiliate him. At the end of the day repentance was expected but instead he was elated by the free ride and head shave. No lessons were learnt, the skin was too thick for the black paint to penetrate and leave a mark. Even the blackened face could not bring him around.

The de-seated custodian of the house is back this time with a lead of 2,500 votes and that too with charges of manipulation. The controversial members of ECP from Punjab and Sindh continue on their positions despite the fact that their chief had the decency to resign which they lack. What if he is disqualified again for the irregularities committed by the Angels? Those of us who live in Pakistan know very well that nothing moves in the administrative machinery unless oiled. I wonder who is oiling this mechanism in NA-122, from where the speaker has reemerged.

Institutions come before individuals and must be respected. The Khakis under General Pervez Musharraf had lost their respect and credibility. It is the same force that has regained its lost ground under the leadership of

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General Raheel Sharif. To restore the credibility of the parliament it was expected that all controversies and controversial individuals would be left behind but it was not to be. The Speaker of the National Assembly is a pillar of democracy which must be erected on sound foundations. Disqualification, reelection, complaints is not the way forward for the custodian of the house where democracy has to flourish.

Whenever I will see the Speaker in the chair it will remind me of the free donkey ride with blackened face and shaved head. Sheikh Saadi would certainly turn in his grave that all this is being repeated in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the 21st century. Even the moral of the story has been changed by the morally and the intellectually ignorant individuals. In Quaid’s Pakistan a federal minister from East Pakistan resigned as his personal telephone calls were billed to the state. Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar kept a log of his calls and paid from his own pocket.

Integrity, morality, honesty and credibility were reversed at one time. Politics meant service to the people not their exploitation. Legislature is an important pillar of the state. In a parliamentary democracy the Prime Minister who heads the executive is also its member. As the ballot was honest in 1970 the elected members were credible. Two constitutions were framed (1972, 1973). Till today the unanimous 1973 constitution has kept the country together while it has come under repeated attacks from the Khakis and the Qazis supported by the Baboos.

When Baboo Ghulam Muhammed dissolved the first legislature of the country Maulvi Tamizuddin the Speaker challenged the decision. Sindh High Court restored the Assembly, the government decided to appeal in the Supreme Court headed by Justice Muhammed Munir which supported the dissolution. Fazal Elahi Chaudhry proved to be an effective speaker in the seventies and was then elevated to be the first elected President under the 1973 constitution. In the eighties Malik Mairaj Khalid commanded a lot of respect as the custodian of the house who was then appointed an interim PM. Instead of making the parliament relevant, a Speaker who is on a roller coaster ride himself can put the entire institution in a spin which should have been avoided.