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A perfect election

6 6 75
12.07.2018

PAKISTAN’S Election 2018 is proving to be an unprecedented affair in the country’s history. Not only have some of the formal gestures that used to be made in favour of the alien concept of democratic choice in the bad old days become redundant, but the result of free, fair and secret polls too has already become known. The only secret left is how a consensus prime minister will jump out of the magician’s hat.

The political parties have lost some of their old feathers and acquired some new ones that do not go well with their traditional plumage.

They have freed themselves of the obligation of discussing with the people the issues facing the country and ways of resolving them through extended debates on their manifestos. Many observers have concluded that the delayed release of the manifestos of major contenders, when the polls are only a few weeks away and people have little time to discuss them, implies that such documents have become irrelevant.

This view is supported by the contents of the manifestos. Instead of beginning with objective analyses of the country’s main problems and offering realistic ideas to overcome them, a simpler method has found favour with most parties, ie a list of public grievances is drawn up and the removal of complaints is promised, without any indication of the means of doing so.

Gen Zia’s followers have superseded him by developing a model that could be offered to the world as the ‘ideal’ poll.

Thus it is possible to talk of deepening democracy without explaining what........

© Dawn