It is finally over! Who would be participating and who would be chased out? Who has a “fake degree” and who has the got reall? All of the raging questions resolved almost 4 weeks before election. But, meanwhile words that were heard resonating the most were Article 62,63. Before debating over articles we haven’t even seen before:
62. Qualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament):
(1) A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless-
(a) He is a citizen of Pakistan;
(b) He is, in the case of the National Assembly, not less than twenty -five years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any electoral roll in
(i) any part of Pakistan, for election to a general seat or a seat reserved for non-Muslims; and
(ii) any area in a Province from which she seeks membership for election to a seat reserved for women.
(c) he is, in the case of Senate, not less than thirty years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any area in a Province or, as the case may be, the Federal Capital or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, from where he seeks membership;
(d) he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions;
(e) he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins ;
(f) he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law;
(g) he has not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the ideology of Pakistan.
(2) The disqualifications specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) shall not apply to a person who is a non-Muslim, but such a person shall have good moral reputation.]
Enough! I should not be writing anything more, everyone who can read and understand what this Article says. But it seems like that our political forces suffer from myopic vision. As a Pakistani I am watching the election time line flowing towards its end too. Nomination papers were distributed then collected and people interested in contesting were asked questions. Based on their answers they were allowed to participate in elections.
This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the submitted papers are easily available for common man. Kudos to all who worked on this project. But the question is how much does it help? Before we get into that detail let’s talk about the process of this whole exercise. Election Commission has Returning Officers all around the country who were collection the nomination papers and were asking question based on the provisions of above said article.
Now is the time to go back and read the article one more time. Pay special attention to 62 d,e and f. The article does state the criteria, but raises few extremely important questions:
a) Who are going to be the RO and who is going to be testing them to test people?
b) “Adequate knowledge of Islamic Teachings”, what is the adequate knowledge?
c) “He is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate”, what is the definition of righteous?
Despite these questions, I have mentioned earlier in my previous writings too that The Constitution is NOT a book of God and should be changed where ever it is necessary with the consensus of the People of Pakistan, my reason of this writing is the practice of these articles in the recent days. The recent practice of ECP raises some serious question on its credibility:
a) How come a person nominated in Major National issues and cases is ‘Sadiq and Ameen’, e.g. Asghar Khan case where it has been proved that Government agencies paid money to Politicians to topple down PPP?
b) How come a person becomes “Clean”, with the blanket benefits of NRO?
Despite these, another major issue that we saw in due course are the questions that were asked by the RO in Pakistan. For example, a person was declared “Not Saadiq” if he has NOT paid his telephone bill of few hundred rupees, but on the other hand people who took billions of rupees and are bank defaulter were cleared.
1) The RO were asking candidates to recite “Dua-e-qanoot”. 6 Kalimas.
2) In one instance, RO asked the Female candidate that he does not believe that the candidate is 35 yrs of age, so she should turn around and show her back.
There are many more questions like this. As a Pakistani what I can see is that Election Commission of Pakistan is NOT working as Election Commission but as “Selection Commission” and is selecting who ever “THEY” want and rejecting whoever they want.
My simple advise to ECP, read what the constitution says:
218. Election Commission:
(3) It shall be the duty of the Election Commission [239KA][ * * ] to organize and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.
It seems like ECP is reading this Article completely backwards. This act of ECP might has created a storm in the tea pot but will never help bringing back the Ideology of our beloved Quaid-e-Azam and will take Pakistan farther away to become Quaid’s Pakistan.