Senate elections and horse-trading

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the schedule for elections of the Upper House of the Parliament that will be held on March 3 to fill 52 Senate seats which will become vacant on March 11. Elections will be held for seven general and four reserved seats from each province, including two each for women and technocrats, four seats from Fata, two from Islamabad and two minority seats.

Political activities are gaining momentum as date for elections of Senate draws nearer. Parliamentary Boards of major political parties are conducting interviews of the intending candidates. Different political parties are also contacting other parties for seat adjustments.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan warned all the members of his party that if any matter of financial involvement proved, he would not tolerate any kind of change in loyalties. Heads of various political parties accused each other for the horse-trading as members of few political parties vote to the members of other political parties. It is also a dilemma that whenever the Senate elections were held, the allegations of horse trading were leveled by various quarters so it was pertinent to introduce open balloting for it, to do that constitutional hurdles can be solved with political consensus.

The political parties should develop consensus to introduce open ballot for the Senate elections because allegations of horse-trading are defaming democracy in the country. Some in the favour of the secret ballot were of the view that it is the charm of the democracy that gives the opportunity to freely exercise the right to vote. But if the freedom is being used to defame the democracy, it would be better to amend the constitution.

Before putting a price tag to sell the conscience, members of the parliament must think in the comfort of their backward that they were sent in the corridors of the parliament to secure the rights of people and not to mint money on the pretext of one or another.

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