Scottish referendum: Some lessons to learn

 

After a historic referendum Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Scots voted 55 percent to 45 percent against independence in a vote that saw an unprecedented turnout.

Scotland enjoying 307-year union with England but in the recent past few voices from the leading politicians of the region became solid to get independence and form a completely sovereign country.

Scottish Minister Alex Salmond was the main force behind motivating the Scots for independence but after the votes he accepted the results and said all the process of voting was a triumph for the democratic process and ultimately for the democracy.

Countries like us in which democratic practices are not as solid as in the West can learn many lessons. First, if the people are given with the welfares like economic stability, best conditions of education and healthcare, freedom of expressions, their hearts can be won with best way of governance. It is hard to deny that local people of the largest province of the country have not been given their due rights with true spirit and letter which provides them the base to participate in anti-state movements. During Musharaf regime Akbar Bhugti a local leader was killed in result of a military operation but insurgency was not contained, in fact after seven years of the incident still few insurgents are exploring the sentiment of hatred among the locals and provoking them to take part in the anti-state activities. Setting on fire the residency of the founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam in Ziarat last year was such one incident, which should be enough to clear the air. Our decision makers in the corridors of power can learn a lot from the Scotland voting in favour of a United Kingdom that what forced them to refuse the independence and live the way they were living and why people in various parts of Pakistan are raising their voices for a separate province or a separate sovereign land. It is the time to distribute the resources in such an equal manner that if a person living in the Southern Punjab or somewhere in Baluchistan visits the provincial capital Lahore and the Federal capital Islamabad, he does not feel that he has come to a developed world which is built with the resources he also has the share in, at that moment he must be wondering that why his region was not given the equal rights. It is a fact that despite having the largest resources of the natural gas the residents of the largest province of the country still are unable to utilize it, except the residents of the provincial capital.

British political establishment was in highly tense situation but at the same time, they were hopeful that Scots would nod in the favour of United Kingdom because they were treating the Scots on the equal terms. Its time for the politicians to redress the grievances of the people of Baluchistan, Southern Punjab and all other areas where people are protesting for their equal rights, because this is the only way we can make a united and prosperous Pakistan.

Another lesson can be learnt for forming an independent electoral process, people of the Scotland were having faith on the voting system and they were firmed believer that their votes would not be rigged and ultimately they participated in the referendum in huge numbers. General elections were held in Pakistan in 2013 but more or less all the political parties raised voices against the massive rigging, it was a unique incident of such nature that the winning political parties and the ones defeated both were protesting against the alleged rigging. People participated in the voting process in huge numbers as turnout of the polling was above 60%, it was a pleasing sign for the democracy to flourish but it would be hard in the next elections to motivate the people to come out and vote if the chances of the alleged riggings would not be eliminated. Incumbent government facing severe protests right in front of the parliament house in Islamabad by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, both the parties pushing for many demands but one is to form an independent and transparent electoral process. It is the time all the stakeholders must come forward to form an independent Elections Commission which would work without any influence of any sort.

Independence of Kashmir has been a top priority of the foreign policy of Pakistan; it is the time that Pakistan should again raise the voice for the referendum in Kashmir, which would provide the chance to the people to vote for their fate according to their wishes.

It is a fact that 30 countries have achieved the independence after a referendum. Much smaller states than Kashmir have become independent after a referendum like East Timor.

 

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