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Democracy and no-trust move

The democratic history of Pakistan will pass another milestone if the process of a no-confidence move against the Senate chairman is done smoothly. A no-confidence move is a form of direct election to remove an incumbent office-bearer of a House, and it is the manifestation of democratic norm. No one should frown upon opposition’s no-confidence move against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, which has submitted the request to the Senate secretariat. Opposition parties’ candidate is Hasil Bazenjo, a seasoned politician from Balochistan. The incumbent chairman, who was once a unanimous candidate of the opposition parties – the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf – faces the no-trust move not because the opposition parties have an issue with him but because of the growing confrontation between the opposition and the treasury, mainly upped by the government side. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has advised Sanjrani to resign voluntarily, while Sanjrani has refused to accept the advice and has vowed to meet the fate. He is likely to face defeat given the numerical strength of the opposition benches. The opposition needs 53 heads to pass the no-trust resolution while their total number is 66 – most of them are from the PML-N (30) and the PPP (20). By unseating Sanjrani, the opposition parties have shown their resolve to make parliament relevant. Once they are disappointed from the parliament’s role, they may take to the street.
But it seems that the time is not far when the opposition will be turning to the agitation given the government’s tendency to trample democratic principles. Parliament has failed to take notice of an announced censorship on the media when it comes to give coverage to the opposition parties. The implications of censorship are not domestic; the international community is also taking notice of the muzzling of media and opposition. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had to face the boycott of media at the ‘Defend Media Freedom’ conference in London on Thursday. A few present there launched vociferous attack on him for gagging the media. The exchange of words between Qureshi and a Canadian journalist is making the rounds on the social media. A similar situation may arise during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the US in the coming week.
Now when the democratic practices have come of age, all state organs should show maturity towards other democratic principles as well.



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