‘Buy a Democracy’ in Pakistan



According to a report in an Urdu daily, the asking price for a person desirous of becoming a Senator from the Tribal areas has surged to a swopping figure of Rs 24 crores (240 million) up from 8 crores at last senate elections time. The figures may be exaggerated, but no one can deny the fact that senate elections have become an auction mart behind closed doors and the highest bidder becomes a Senator regardless of his suitability or capability.

This phenomenon is not only restricted to the tribal areas though it may be more pronounced due to easy money in abundance there, but even in the settled districts, Senate elections have become synonymous with buying and selling of the MPAs votes. No wonder the position of MPA is more popular with politicians than that of an MNA (who doesn’t have a senator election vote).

Looking at the degenerative phenomenon backwards a person plans on spending a few million rupees to become an MPA and then sells his vote in the Senate elections for ten times the money he spent. Not a bad business and reason why politics is so popular.

The time for change has come and drastic reforms at making politics difficult and unattractive for the corrupt and greedy is the need of the day. To begin with, the Senate elections this time should be held on adult franchise basis like the Assembly elections or better still instead of elections the Senate members should be selected through competitive exams devised for the purpose.

If the selection through competitive exams method is adopted,, not only would shameful corruption be eliminated from the Senate elections but we would also get the best people to represent us in the upper house of the parliament.