Senate polls to change future direction of politics

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:56 PM, 17 Feb, 2021
Senate polls to change future direction of politics

The elections on the 50 percent of the Senate seats – due to be held next month – are very important both for the government as well as the opposition parties and are expected to change the future direction of the country’s politics

Since all members of the National Assembly vote to elect a senator from the federal capital, the outcome of the race between Dr Hafeez Shaikh (Federal Finance Minister) and former prime minister Syed Yusuf Reza Gilani (a joint candidate of the PDM) will establish whether the majority of the house is with the ruling coalition or the opposition. 

In case the PTI candidate wins – and all efforts are being made to ensure his victory – the 10-party Pakistan Democratic Movement will lose the justification to go ahead with its anti-government movement. In other words, it will be left with no plausible reason to go for a long march, a sit-in in Islamabad or any other move. 

Even a no-confidence move against the prime minister will become irrelevant.  

However, the defeat of the PTI candidate will be very embarrassing for the ruling coalition. This will also be indicative of the prime minister’s lack of majority in the house. 

In such a scenario it will also not be wrong to conclude that the establishment has withdrawn its support to the man who had emerged on the political scene after breaking a prolonged dominance of the PML-N and the PPP.

In such situation propriety demands that Prime Minister Imran Khan should not cling to power anymore and voluntarily vacate the seat for a new man to be elected by the house. He should not waste time in taking measures to prove his majority. 

Dr Hafeez Shaikh’s failure to win the Senate election will, by implication, mean that the majority of the National Assembly members are with the opposition and they have the right to bring their own man to replace Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

So far the opposition has not identified the dark horse who may replace the cricketer-turned-politician. However, since the PML-N has the greater numerical strength it will have the right to get its man elected to the coveted post.   

Whatever the outcome of the exercise, this will be the most peaceful way of bringing about a change of government. In fact a silent ‘revolution’ will take place without causing any problem to the common man. 

Both sides are trying their best to win the battle ahead. 

PDM candidate for the Islamabad seat Syed Yusuf Reza Gilani’s nomination papers have been challenged on the ground that he had concealed some important facts about his conviction as a result of which he is no longer qualified to contest the election. However, a decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

All eyes are focused on a decision on his eligibility – and then the result of the election on Islamabad seat. 

Whatever the outcome, after participation in the Senate elections – for which the assemblies that are alleged to be the product of ‘rigged’ elections constitute the electoral college – the PDM will be left with no moral and constitutional justification to question the legitimacy of these houses. Even Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of the JUI, will have to review his policy of incessant attacks on the government and credentials of the elected houses after nominating candidates of his party for the upper house of parliament.

Whatever change takes place on the political scene, credit for it will go to PPP leader and former president Asif Ali Zaardari. 

At a time when radical leaders of the PML-N and the JUI-F wanted to go for a long march on Islamabad and then stage a sit-in there to mount pressure on the government to quit, it was the former president who had proposed the change of strategy. He was the one who had convinced three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that a no-trust motion would be a better strategy to oust Imran Khan.

Since the opinion of the former president could not be ignored in view of the indispensability of the PPP for riddance from the PTI government they were left with no option but to agree to it.