0 comments   |     by Dr. Farrukh Saleem

A thoughtful and objective analysis.


Pakistan is going nowhere without reforms – electoral, economic, judicial, civil service and land. To begin with, electoral and economic reforms ought to be at the top of all priorities. We need electoral reforms because:


Electoral flaw 1: In 2013, the PML-N bagged 32 percent of the votes polled. What that means is that 68 percent of votes polled were in favour of parties other than the PML-N. But, the PML-N got to send one of its own to the office of the prime minister who in essence represents only 32 percent of the votes polled and a mere 17 percent of the registered voters. Under our first-past-the-post electoral system the prime minister actually indirectly represents a total of 14.8 million Pakistanis (but often claims to represent 180 million).


Electoral flaw 2: In 2013, the PML-N bagged 32 percent of the votes polled and managed 190 seats in the National Assembly. In 2013, the PTI bagged 17 percent of the votes polled but managed only 34 seats in the National Assembly. In essence, the PML-N with 14.8 million votes captured 190 seats while PTI with 7.6 million votes got only 34 seats.


Electoral flaw 3: Election data from constituencies in Faisalabad from elections held in 1977, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2002 shows that all the winning candidates in all the seven elections were Jatts, Rajputs, Arains, Kharals or Baloch (original research done by Dr Mughees Ahmed in ‘Voting behaviour in rural and urban areas of Punjab’).


Electoral flaw 4: Between 1977 and 2014, almost all law-making undertaken by the National Assembly benefited or protected the president, the PM, governors, CMs, 342 members of the National Assembly, 104 senators or 714 members of the four provincial assemblies. There has been next to nothing for the voters.


Electoral flaw 5: The last population census was conducted 15 years ago.


Possible solution: A proportionate representation system that “accurately reflects the democratic will of the population minimising or reducing the disparity between a party’s share of the vote and its share of parliamentary seats”.


Perhaps, a multi-round system in which a candidate must obtain a majority in order to win. Something along the lines of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) that “enables the elector to list candidates in order of preference in a multi-member constituency”.


We need economic reforms because:


Economic flaw 1: In 2008, each and every man, woman and child in this country was indebted to the tune of Rs40,000. By the time the PPP left, each and every man, woman and child in this country was indebted to the tune of Rs80,000. Currently, the per capita debt stands at Rs100,000. Over time the debt on our children is going up while the assets of the children of our rulers continue to increase.


Economic flaw 2: Pakistani men and women are getting rich through corruption not through hard work.


Economic flaw 3: Money is flowing towards people who trade in favours not in goods.


Economic flaw 4: In order to produce goods one needs permission from those who produce nothing (original work in this regard was done by Ayan Rand).


Possible solutions: Altering spending priorities, professionalising regulatory mechanism, accountability, investing in education, health and justice.


Question: Are our leaders unaware of the right policy mix?


Answer: Our leaders are fully aware of the right policy mix but they have deliberately organised every institution of the state and society to benefit the elite – only the elite.


Source: The News on Sunday (Aug. 31, 2014).

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