Senate quandary

After the clear message by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) that they won’t support the proposed 22nd Amendment in the constitution, voting by show of hand in the senate elections seems to be on the rocks. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) had proposed the 22nd amendment in an attempt to curb the horse trading in the senate elections.

There has been an uproar recently that without the show of hand in the senate elections, there will be plenty of buying and selling to get a seat in the senate, according to some reports in the media the total money involved in the senate elections could top five-billion rupees. The Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) had decided to support the ruling party on the 22nd amendment but the PTI chairman questioned the Governments intentions recently. ‘It has become evident that the government’s intentions to end horse-trading by bringing in a constitutional amendment were never sincere and that also reflects in the fact that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is taking off for Saudi Arabia at this crucial time.‘ The PTI chairman said in a statement.

The problem with the show of hands is that if the members of the assemblies are forced to show their hand will they be allowed to vote the candidate of their choice or will they simply be under too much pressure to vote for the one that has the favor of the party heads. On the other hand there is the quandary that with secret balloting votes can be bought.

The Government and the opposition parties should come to the table and devise a formula for the elections. The 2013 general elections were branded as controversial by many parties and eventually lead to the month’s long sit-in by the PTI. All political parties must make sure that the senate elections are transparent; the nation needs to move on from the continuous talk of rigged elections, horse trading and controversies.

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