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EditorialPunjab and horse-trading

Punjab and horse-trading

Today is another eventful day in the Punjab Assembly, where either Hamza Shehbaz or Chaudhry Parvez Elahi will emerge victorious. Before this, however, the word and the actions of ‘horse trading’ have gained much attention. The party that has its eyes set on forming the government, but does not have enough votes or seats uses financial or mutually beneficial measures to gain support in the assemblies. This sordid game has been played in Pakistan many times, even those who claimed to be the flag bearers of truth and an anti-corruption agenda could not stay away from being involved in this ethically wrong practice. The venality of candidates and the lack of legal action against those who take part in this trade of conscience is the reason why it is done so openly and without any retribution. Horse trading may not seem like a huge problem, however, those who are bought and sold have a faulty moral compass and should not be trusted with the responsibility of representing the people of Pakistan.

The by-polls have brought forward a surprising result. Many were not expecting that PTI will win 15 out of a total of 20 seats in Punjab but it happened. Most people thought that the new government will at any cost try to win the elections in order to properly form the provincial government. Even though PTI had shown its power through multiple rallies all around the country, most people were of the opinion that Punjab will bring back the PML-N rule. Had the PML-N walked the right path this could have been possible. However, the party chose to give tickets to dissidents rather than its own people and nobody wanted to vote for those who sold their conscience, therefore, the defeat was inevitable.

The issue at hand now is the election of a new chief minister of Punjab. Since PTI and PML-Q have more seats it is likely that the chief minister will come from either party if the candidates who have won do not change their allegiance at the last moment. To prevent this PML-N is working hard and fast to set up a bazaar of conscience and buy people’s allegiance. In the short run even if PML-N is successful in this endeavour, it will still form a shaky government. A person who can be bought by one can also be bought by another, therefore, such an action will not benefit the party in the long run. Moreover, they do not have the people’s confidence yet and if they form a government without the trust and confidence of the general public it is unlikely to last for a long time or allow them to win in the general elections. For now, the PML-N should accept defeat in Punjab and let PTI and PML-Q form a government and elect their chief minister as they have more MPAs.

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