A Threat to Democracy

Pakistan’s recent decision to grant expanded powers to the caretaker government ahead of the upcoming general elections is a cause for serious concern. While proponents argue that these additional powers are necessary to address urgent matters and handle ongoing projects, it is crucial to examine the broader implications of this move.
One cannot overlook the fact that opposition parties, including PTI, PPP and JI, have raised their voices against this amendment, labeling it as unconstitutional. Such unanimity among the hyper-polarized community of political parties is a clear indicator of the legitimacy of their concerns. The foundations of democracy rest on the principle of checks and balances, ensuring a fair and impartial electoral process. By bestowing the caretaker government with decision-making authority typically reserved for elected officials, we risk compromising the very essence of democracy.
The primary role of a caretaker government should be to ensure free and fair elections and maintain the status quo until the new elected government assumes power. Granting them the power to engage with international institutions and make major policy decisions blurs the lines between caretaker and elected governments, undermining the democratic process. This development sets a dangerous precedent for future caretaker governments to potentially extend their terms and manipulate the electoral process to their advantage.
While proponents argue that these powers are limited to ongoing projects, the ambiguity surrounding the definition of “urgent matters” and “existing bilateral, multilateral projects” leaves room for potential abuse. The lack of clarity opens the door to subjective interpretations, allowing the caretaker government to overstep its designated boundaries.
In a country already grappling with political polarization, this move further deepens the divide. The upcoming elections are already set to be contentious, and this amendment will only add fuel to the fire. Rather than fostering an environment of trust and cooperation, it risks exacerbating tensions and contributing to a more polarized atmosphere. It undermines the principles of checks and balances, compromises the electoral process, and raises questions about the country’s sovereignty. The government must reconsider this amendment and focus on upholding the democratic values that form the bedrock of our nation.

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