Legislature is the supreme organ of a government. It represents the right to rule of the people in an indirect democracy. It is even more vital in a parliamentary form of governance for the reason that it not only enacts legislation but also forms the executive branch of a government. Legislature enacts legislation according to the conferred powers of the constitution. Legislation is the law enforceable by executive and interpretable by the Judiciary.
Competence of a legislature is directly proportionate to the quality of legislators. Legislature has to perform core functions of electoral representation, law making, authorization of budget, ratification of contracts and forming governments. Parliamentary oversight is also the core function of a legislature. The power to enact the Constitution marks the legislature being supreme organ of the state and society.
Like all other branches of governance, Pakistan is facing the capacity crises of the legislators. Politics in Pakistan centers around the electability syndrome. Off course, the electability of a political candidate in electioneering is vital to the cause of a political party as political parities are established to form governments. However, electability of the candidates should not compromise the quality of legislators required to legislate law and form governments. Hence, political parties are required to create a balance between electability and quality of legislators. How can legislators be elected without skills of legislation and governance?
Regrettably, the democracy has a checkered history in Pakistan. Our social and political orientation has also supported to develop an electability cult. Electability is a primary merit of a political candidate as long as it corresponds to the functions of legislature and executive. Even, the exalted representation of the people is undemocratic unless core objectives of legislation and governance are achieved. If the legislators are unable to enact legislation or form better political executive, it simply means the failing of a government. Then, it is the primary responsibility of the electorate and political parties not to compromise on the quality of legislators. However, the equation is more idealistic than practical in the contemporary political environment of Pakistan.
In our peculiar political culture, People don’t elect legislators but administrators of municipal services and local governance. In an absence of a functional local government system, the culture of electability of legislators shall be contradictory. Consequently, the legislature remains short of quality legislators resulting in ordinary legislation and poor governance. Shortage of political administrative human resource propels a political government to recruit non-representative technocrats who are generally part of a problem not solution. This political administrative void is filled either by bureaucracy or other public institutions. Governance gaps are uncompromising for the people and this remains the fundamental cause of the disapproval of the governments.
Political parties in Pakistan are required to form a balance between general and specialized political candidates in electioneering. Yes, it is challenging to organize the specialized political candidates but there is no other way around. Electoral dependency only on the general candidates will lead to failing of political leaders and parties alike at the cost of democracy and politics. Political culture is directly dependent upon the functionality of governance and that is achievable only by awarding tickets to specialized candidates. Bureaucracy and other non-representative organizations shall only remain at bay if quality of legislators is guaranteed. Political parties should comprehend the inevitability of awarding tickets to specialized political candidates in the election despite facing a number of electability challenges.
Pakistan is a complex federation. There are sensitive social, cultural and political codes and national representation has always been a challenge. However, the political land scape is improving as national voice is making headway among parochial outcries. Yet, there are a number of political parties available representing federal dimensions. Besides, these parties have been winning national and provincial elections since 2008. Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf and Pakistan Muslim League (N) and others are major political forces in Pakistan. Despite, winning elections, the parties are finding it hard to legislate competently and form a functional political executive. Accordingly, the parties become dependent on technocrats and bureaucracy, thus compromising the whole political governance system. It is comprehensible that political parties cannot award tickets to the majority of specialized candidates yet scores of specialized candidates can be accommodated on comparatively winning constituencies.
Electable legislators do not strengthen a political party rather the governance and political ideals make a political party stronger. At the cost of repetition, it is impossible to award tickets to specialized candidates on all constituencies yet, there is a significant window of opportunity where political parties can easily get specialized candidates elected. This harmonious compromise will strengthen our democratic culture and enhance the quality of legislature and government. Technocrats are devoid of representative electability and this void makes them weak administrators. Only political executive and competent legislators can restore the ideals of governance. A political party shall definitely provide better governance if it elect rational amount of quality legislators.
The fundamental obstruction to award tickets to specialized candidates is the non-functionality of the local government. A functional local government shall induct political candidates having municipal interests, thus creating an opportunity for the competent legislators. Although, controlling the electability of the legislators is undemocratic yet there should be placed a few qualitative standards to meet the competency of legislation and governance. Quality of legislators is uncompromising. Both, the political parties and electorate must not compromise the standards of electability directly linked to legislation and governance.
Electoral scheme in Pakistan is ever changing for better. Political parties are becoming stronger than electable candidates. Urban areas and those of KPK and other parts of the country are re-aligning political culture in favor of political parties. This is an opportunity for the political parties to award tickets to those who could legislate and govern. Inducting competent legislators into the legislatures is the political panacea of political parties. Standards of legislation and governance are proportionality linked to the competency of legislators.