Election Commission of Pakistan postponed senate elections on Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) seats for an indefinite period; the new date for the elections will be announced later. The move came as Members of National Assembly (MNA’s) from (FATA) challenged the presidential ordinance regarding the voting procedure in the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court. The petition filed by the MNA’s stated that the ordinance should be reversed and the FATA Senate elections should be carried out as per the old voting method.
The Government had earlier withdrew the Statutory Regulatory Order of July 7, 1975, and the 2002 executive order issued former president General Pervez Musharraf, President Mamnoon Hussain issued the presidential ordinance that permits FATA MNAs to cast only one vote hours before the elections. The old method allowed each FATA member to cast four votes. FATA MNA’s strongly criticized the Government for issuing the ordinance and said that the ordinance was passed merely to get their own candidates elected.
The Government has made the whole process doubtful by passing an ordinance in the dark of the night. If the Government indeed wanted to stop potential horse-trading from the elections it should have passed the ordinance much earlier. The ordinance is also against the wishes of the MNA’s of FATA, it is rather strange that the Presidential Order has been rejected by the very people it was meant for. The ordinance also shows the power the center has over affairs of FATA, the move will also potentially cause unrest among the people of FATA seeing how little say they have in what goes on in their own area. The Government’s intentions and reasoning that they wanted to stop horse-trading in FATA maybe true but the way in which the ordinance was promulgated is completely wrong. The move has made the already controversial senate elections even more controversial.