One would have thought that the man of the ‘mandayte’, a multi-millionaire in his own right, and to a certain extent this nation’s, right, would have a head for figures. After being pricked by the cricketer and cleric, he ‘graced’ the joint session of Parliament where his morale was boosted by the solid backing he was given by all in attendance who, in no way, wanted a change in their lifestyles, access to perks, privileges, pelf and power.
He then, confidently, ventured forth into the flood areas where he was not exactly given a boost as all present in no way wished the status quo to continue, they were desperate for a change in lifestyle not in any manner having access to the four Ps. Hopefully, the somewhat hostile reception did encourage Mian Sahib to have a little think — vain hope, but nevertheless … Whilst addressing one such gathering he indulged in the usual fantasy. He claimed to have been elected by the 180 million unfortunates of the nation (though by now the number is probably closer to 200 million).
He must recheck his numbers (or seek guidance from the highly numerical Dollar Dar). The total number of registered voters in the 2013 elections was 86,194,802 and the voter turnout 55 per cent. The PML-N’s popular vote was 147,941,88 of the total votes cast. So much for the massive ‘mandayte’!
Anyhow, the most honourable prime minister is given to fantasising and even to telling the odd fib here and there — as he did in that most august of gatherings, the joint session, over the question of who approached the army chief to mediate in the current fracas.
Now, fibbing in Parliament is just not on, as he would know, had he any knowledge of parliamentary history. Even mundane ministers of democratic countries (not this one) have resigned their seats when caught out telling porkies.
As to the elections and the rigging allegations (of course rigging took place, it’s part of the national ethos) the election commission’s website review of the 2013 elections this week will hardly bring cheer to Mian Sahib’s heart.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has indulged in a fair amount of self-flagellation which tells us that all was not pristine and perfect. It was, of course, pre the elections, a very clever move to appoint the top man of the ECP, an octogenarian whose grip over such delicate matters as ‘free and fair’ elections was somewhat tenuous.
Then there was that great institution, the independent judiciary, and its meddling in the question of the appointment of returning officers.
To use a quote from one highly harsh editorial on the subject, the ECP’s self-given report “is an official seal on information about polls irregularities accumulated through various sources.” So the cricketer, despite all his bluster and sometimes unfortunate language, has a point. It needs to be drubbed in thoroughly.
The electoral system (as with many of our so-called ‘systems’) is a rotting carcass. It needs total upheaval and revision, not merely revival.
On to the other bug that bugs this government and all politicians — the military/civil imbalance. Two telling points this week, the front-paging and editorials on the appointment of the upcoming chief of the mighty ISI, were all hunky-dory.
And another telling little excerpt from a news item of September 24: “Before departing for the US, the prime minister held an important meeting with army chief General Raheel Sharif and consulted him on a host of issues to that he could put forward Pakistan’s policy vis-ŕ-vis Afghanistan, India and Kashmir more effectively.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2014.