ell, the anti defection law already exists in our constitution. The law 63-A is very simple and clear in nature. This law comes into force at three stages – during the voting for Prime Minister’s election, at the time of no-confidence motion and passing of budget. Any member who tends to go against the policy of its party and leadership during these above mentioned stages is answerable to its party leadership. The leader of the political party sends a show cause notice to the concerned member in which an explanation is demanded regarding the action of the member taken against the policy and constitution of the party for which the member was elected to the Parliament. The member is bound to give his or her side of explanation for his actions against the party and if the leader of the particular political party is not satisfied with the given elucidation, then the leader of the party can send this matter to the respected speaker of national assembly for further action.
The speaker conducts the initial inquiry regarding the matter within two days and sends the direction to the election commission of Pakistan to deseat the concerned member of the house for violating the party policy and constitution under the guidance of anti-defection law present in the constitution of Pakistan, which is 63-A. The Election Commission of Pakistan has to carry out the final verdict regarding the future of members of the house within a time span of 30 days. After the Election Commission of Pakistan completes it’s inquiry regarding the concerned matter the position of the member is determined. If the member gets de-seated after the completion of this whole process.
The members of the house still have the option to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court against the decision. In my opinion the law is very much there and it is more than enough to punish a member of the house for the violations committed above.
This law is very much balanced in nature and can prove very handy to halt the corrupt and unethical practice of floor crossing by the members of the Parliament. I don’t see any room for further inclusion of any other new clause to be inducted in this law. The law contains a punishment aspect which is disqualification of a culprit member if found guilty.
There is no need to add anything new like disqualification for life. As far as Presidential reference is concerned Pakistan PPP on Thursday submitted its response in the Supreme Court on reference filed by the President seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) and we believe that the reference doesn’t fall within the ambit of Article 186 of the Constitution under which the president can seek the top court’s opinion.
The court’s opinion on the matter will prejudice the right to appeal, Article 63(A) cannot be invoked against any member of the National Assembly before the process of a vote of no-confidence against a prime minister.
“Buying, selling of public representatives is a crime against democracy”
here are pertinent laws which are already present in our constitution to counter this type of unethical and immoral practice. 63-A is the law which guides the parliament on how to tackle this issue and it is very clear in this regard. This law is crystal clear and directs the parliament about the particular issue. But the real problem is understanding and interpretation of this law. Unfortunately, we are still unable to recognize and understand the real idea and concept of this law.
Another hindrance we face in this regard is the improper implementation of this law at the ground level. Due to this factor, what happens is that this law comes into action only after a member has already cast the vote against the party through which he or she was elected. So, the implementation timing is a key issue here. This law should come into force before the voting process. However there is still room to make some changes into the current law to make it more impactful and powerful so that a member thinks twice before carrying out floor crossing action. A member should be declared disqualified for life who carries out such unethical practices.
Recently, the Supreme Court stated clearly in its decision that a member of parliament, despite being free to make his/her own choices, still holds the responsibility towards the party. The SC also said in its judgment that the Speaker of the house should resolve this issue within the parliament. So according to the given time and situation the speaker has no other option but to deseat these conscientious objectors under the law 63-A.
As Parliamentarian, our job is to introduce new laws but it is the sole responsibility of the institutions like the Supreme Court to implement these laws with immediate effect in order to avoid blackmailing and corruption. I would like to request the SC to take a strong notice of this corrupt practice and try to enforce the law by giving decisions promptly and quickly. We recently witnessed that the Sindh House became the hub of horse-trading ahead of the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan and we have received reports that a huge amount of money has been shifted to the venue. Now that is a major crime if that has happened.
Lastly, our leader Imran Khan has clearly said that he would get rid of this horse trading and corrupt practices once and for all to strengthen the democratic norms which would ensure the respect of the mandate given by the masses of this country to PTI and our leadership. PM Imran Khan rightly pointed out that this ‘gang’ in the Opposition is openly buying the conscience and loyalties of the public representatives which is a big crime against the nation and democracy. The masses will join hands with us on March 27 and show their condemnation of the brazen horse-trading that is aimed at harming democracy in the country.
“Taking a principled stand is a voice of conscience”
arliament reflects democracy. The important point is that every member of the house has the liberty to choose whether to support or abandon its leadership in view of bad or good policy. That should be the standard practice. The basic soul of the democracy lays under the concept of difference of opinion on different issues and policies whether you are a member of treasury benches or of the opposition benches. A member of the parliament should take a principled stand against its incompetent leadership which is making life tough and hard for the common people due to its bad governance and policies.
The members should be courageous enough to oppose and condemn its leadership if it is proving dangerous for the country, like the PTI is. Every person who gets elected to the parliament with the help of votes of the masses, holds the responsibility to safeguard the interest of its people and should represent its demographics with sincerity even if a respected member has to go against the will of its leadership. Such leadership should not be supported and must be abandoned with immediate effect. There’s nothing wrong with it. I think the true meaning of representation of people by elected members lies under the aspect of taking free and fair decisions which are in harmony with the best interest of common people.
As far as the dismantling and blackmailing concept goes, this should be condemned and halted at once. But we have to draw a line whether this action is happening in retaliation of bad policies of the leadership or is it being carried out to gain personal benefits. If someone is trying to attain some perks by blackmailing to sabotage the parliamentary system then it should be condemned in the strongest possible manner.
However, if a member is revolting against its leadership on the basis of corruption, bad governance and policies then we should appreciate his or her courage. I would like to emphasise here that taking a principled stand against any wrongdoing is the voice of conscience.
In my opinion, to halt the corruption aspect in this regard, balanced legislation is important. But, right now the problem is that we happen to have a PM who doesn’t hold the democratic values, who is not even willing to sit down with the Opposition to discuss these common issues which can benefit Pakistan’s democracy in the long run.
He just wants to run things through Presidential ordinances. That’s why the Opposition has dubbed him as ‘selected’ because he doesn’t value democratic practices. The PML-N and PPP also had disagreements in their last tenures on various issues, but we used to sit together to resolve them in discussion.