Constitutional Solution to Curb Horsetrading in Pakistan

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
Massive horsetrading of votes took place during Senate 2018 elections.  PTI and MQM Senate seats were lost. Do you know what were the two signals that triggered  horse trading in Senate elections 2018?

  • (1) The stringent regime of secrecy implemented by ECP signaled the voters to cross party lines without divulging their affiliations to their party heads. This led to their wholescale defections. The regime threatened action through agencies.
  • (2) Signal by DoN godfathers to declare all PMLN candidates to be independents.

Unfortunately the godfathers’ calculations misfired as majority turncoats emerged from PTI. However, PMLN voters, contrary to predictions, held their grounds and retained their loyalty.

Constitutional Solution

Hence, Constitution does not permit NA voters to cross party lines during sensitive votes such as no confidence vote or budget vote to curtail horsetrading. To curtail horsetrading practice in Senate elections, voting should also have been by the show of hands as per the spirit of constitution.

During prepoll political engineering, a revolt in Balochistan PA was triggered to replace PMLN CM with an independent to enable later horsetrading. This lost PMLN the opportunity of getting an outright two third majority in Senate.

References :

1. Violators of Senate vote secrecy to be punished: ECP
2. PML-N Senate candidates declared independent by ECP 


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