EDITORIAL: Moving a vote of no confidence against a Prime Minister is as democratic as his election following the confidence placed in him by the elected chamber. In both cases, tensions build, but these tensions should remain within the framework of their coexistence as stakeholders in the common cause of democratic politics.
Sadly, however, that did not appear to be the case in the run-up to the vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan. Currently, a sort of do-or-die battle has been joined by the instigators of the no-confidence vote and the Prime Minister’s defenders. All sorts of threats are thrown at opponents and weapons of war are flashed.
For example, the ‘militia’ of anti-government Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman stormed the parliamentary boxes, claiming they had landed there in a bid to prevent the likely kidnappings of assembly members. National JUI-F. Prime Minister Imran Khan responded by asking regional PTI leaders to bring a million supporters to Islamabad’s D-Chowk to stage a show of power on the eve of the National Assembly’s vote of no confidence session.
To this, while the leader of the PDM responded by asking his party’s militants to “stand ready to join Islamabad as soon as they are summoned”, the leader of the PML-N, Ahsan Iqbal, threatened to organize a issuance of power on the avenue de la Constitution the same day of the vote on the resolution of non-confidence.
And in the meantime, while Prime Minister’s adviser Babar Awan wants to ‘crush’ the opposition motion, the Prime Minister’s special assistant, Shahbaz Gill, has said that pictures of ‘traitors’ will be posted all over the country. Additionally, Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has expressed his desire to become a “suicide bomber” to defend Prime Minister Imran Khan. All of this is in the open. However, whether or not there has been voter selling and buying has no clear answer, although the Prime Minister has stepped up his attack on opposition parties by claiming that the price of a vote could reach 20 million rupees.
It is important to note that although democracy is synonymous with majority rule, it is rooted in the belief that its linchpin is the individual voter who votes according to the call of his or her conscience. It is therefore not surprising that electoral activities stop as soon as the “period of silence” begins. It goes without saying that each “quiet period” begins 48 hours before polling day and ends after the polls close. But what if a democratically elected Prime Minister wants to organize a “power show” in front of parliament the day before the start of the session? Hopefully, political leaders on both sides of the divide would be required to rethink their belligerent mindsets and let the process of defiance unfold strictly in accordance with the letter and spirit of the constitution.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022