Washing dirty linen at ECP

  • Senate election and horse-trading

It is all very well for the Election Commission to take note of the horse-trading matter and invite a number of personalities from government and opposition except, interestingly, anybody from PPP. But much rather than drag the evidence — which they don’t have — all the way to the Commission and wash their dirty linen there, party leaders will do themselves a bigger favour by looking inwards and putting their own respective houses in order.

Granted the Senate election was clearly, if not quite unexpectedly, a typical note-for-vote circus that has come to define our democratic political outlook. Yet as much as party heads dislike disloyalty, there is still no law that bars members from voting against party lines. But the matter of selling their votes, especially for large sums of money, is a different matter altogether. And as Imran Khan rightly put it, while it might still be possible to ascertain who doled out the money, it is not so straight forward to put the finger on those that laughed all the way to the bank. The PTI chief must also have realised, finally, that an honest leader does not ensure honesty in the rank and file.

The Commission, therefore, is unlikely to make much headway in this case. If the past is any guide, the matter of large sums of money changing hands is most likely to dominate headlines once again because of the election of Senate chairman and deputy chairman. In addition to making the Senate vote more transparent the only logical way to deal with this problem is for political parties to become more democratic. Parties, like PML-N and PTI, that are investigating certain shock results in Punjab and KP will find that both money and discontent played a part in what both call the ‘betrayal’. The sooner they address problems inside their own structures, the sooner they will rid themselves of problems like horse-trading.