It was only natural, — though a poor reflection on parliament — that the formation of the scrutiny committee by the Election Commission of Pakistan, should have accentuated the insecurity of the parliamentarians, 70 percent of whom by different estimates are alleged to be tax defaulters. The session of the National Assembly on Wednesday was marked by an acute sense of paranoia amid vehement albeit a sordid desire evinced by the legislators and members alike to clip ECP’s wings.
Now what is it that the ECP has done to earn this wrath? Perhaps it has had what the retrogressive bent of mind would consider the temerity to hit at the parliament’s underbelly. The scrutiny committee set up by the commission would join forces with the FBR, NAB, State Bank of Pakistan and NADRA to turf out contestants, who are in any way on the wrong side of the law. The category includes; convicted politicians and loan and tax defaulters. Also the letter sent by the ECP to 249 parliamentarians asking for their educational certificates, seems to have struck a raw nerve in certain legislators, provoking Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan – also a recipient of the letter and Law Minister Farook H Naek to bombard the commission with a barrage of criticism. Comments such as ‘vilification of politicians’ were heard which reek of the tendency of keeping up the masquerade. The PML-N that has been reiterating what it says is it unflinching resolve to abide by the canons of good conduct, ought to curb its members from being so brazen as to take on the role of devil’s advocate. Definitely when one member of the assembly would start to muscle in on the ECP to make an exception, the rest would think it well within their right to follow suit. Let it be clear that the ECP’s statute book is for everyone; those failing to meet the new standards have no justification to talk of ‘witch-hunt’.
Given the conflagration waiting to engulf the electoral process, manoeuvring by many if not most of the political parties that could serve such partisan interests ought to be discouraged. It is because of continued inclination to condone meddling with the democratic process that the electorate feel all the more reason why the present lot of legislators are not fit to be in the assemblies. A success of the scrutiny process could mean that a new lot of individuals hopefully of impeccable characters would be given the chance to serve their country.