Aaj English TV

Saturday, July 13, 2024  
07 Muharram 1446  

Constitution ‘trampled’ by delaying elections: Mengal

Adds that he heard about Kakar becoming PM through TV
File photo.
File photo.

Balochistan National Party leader Akhtar Mengal said that he had found out about Anwaar-ul-Haq’s nomination as caretaker prime minister from television and had been surprised to hear it.

He made the remarks while talking to Munizae Jahangir in a wide-ranging interview that discussed census results, election delay and the state of democracy in Spotlight on Aaj News.

Mengal said that the major plitical leaders in the country either have a lot of patience, or they stay quiet over their reservations due to the doctrine of necessity.

He added that other major politicians shared his concerns but only he had chosen to speak up. He also said that the others would burst forth with their thoughts but would have nothing but tears at that point.

Mengal said that he had told Shehbaz Sharif that he had the right to nominate the caretaker PM, but he should think carefully before making a decision.

In an interesting twist of words, Mengal said there was difference between a caretaker, who aould take care of the country during the pre-election period, and an undertaker, who could dig a grave for democracy.

He said that he himself had been surprised by the announcement of Kakar’s name and had it heard about it from TV.

When asked about the expanded powers given to caretaker governments under the Election Act, Mengal said that this is what he meant by being an undertaker.

When asked about Khawaja Asif’s statement about Abdul Malik Baloch’s name being finalised, he said he did not know where the former defence minister had got that name from. He added that Malik was the head of party and would probably want to contest elections.

Answering a question about whose candidate Kakar seemed to be, he added that questione would only be asked of tose who announced him as PM.

He also said that Kakar’s profile should have been scrutinised bfore his nomination. He added that Kakar had been affiliated with PML-Q, PML-N and had also played a key role in establishing BAP.

He added that Kakar’s narrative was that of the establishment. He added that Kakar considered nationalists instead of establishment to be cause of Balochistan’s province.

Who is responsible for democracy going off track

Mengal said that the largest responsibility for the system going off track lay with the PML-N who had come up with the slogan of ‘vote ko izzat do’. He said that the vote had instead disappeared completely from the political scenario.

When asked if Nawaz had been subjected to the ‘minus one’ formula, Mengal said that such decisions could never work. He said that the people and party should be able to decide who they considered to be their leader.

He said that transparent elections could only be considered a ‘dream’.

Mengal also said that those who had eben disqualified should be afforded a fair trial if a level playing field could be ensured.

Elections

Mengal said that the constituionally mandated 90 days would end in November but the former PM and opposition leader had mentioned February as probably dates for elections. He said that this amounted to ‘trampling’ the constitution.

“If there is a will, there is a way,” Mengal said, adding that if the government wanted to hold elections on time, a way could have been found.

He added that the constitution seemed to be made of wax and whoever wanted could mould it to his liking.

Census

Mengal added that the CCI meeting was held up for six hours as the chief minister of Balochistan had not arrived.

He said that before the meeting, they had been told that Balochistan’s population was 21.3 or 21.4 million.

He said that the increase in population would have inevitably meant that seats would have to be taken from Punjab and given to Balochistan unless a constitutional emdment was made.

He said the CCI meeting had been called to prevent the decrease of seats from Punjab and to delay elections.

He said that census conducted on pencils, fountain pens and then ball pens had been accepted but the latest census had been a digital one. He said that localised errors could have been rectified in a digial census instead of revising results for the entire province.

Asked if the error could be rectified, Mengal said that decisions in Pakistan were often taken in haste. He said that amny short-term decisions had been made in the country whose effects had to be borne for years.

Hasty legislation

Mengal said that legislation had been rushed through the parliament at midnight while the house did not have quorum, often with only 20 people present.

He said that many in the house had protested but no one would listen. He added that there had been an opposition in the assembly in name but it actually amounted to nothing.

Mengal said that legislations that empowered security agencies to raid anyone anywhere could not have been made in a democratic country.

He said that no prime minsiter had shown him as much respect as Shehbaz Sharif but that had not meant anything in the end as democracy had suffered.