Unfortunately, from last several decades, the Senate polls are considered very beneficial for all those who always known for heavy investment for getting its berths or those who wants to betray the confidence reposed on him by his party or electorates. The trend of horse trading or investment is not new but it was started soon after independence of the country but promoted by civil-military establishment during 50’s and 60’s. At that time, no other than high ups from civil and military establishment had helped their installed so-called political rulers of strengthening their position through politics of horse trading and somersaults.
First ever military ruler Ayub Khan was the first one who had offered cash amounts, privileges and other benefits to politicians. But at that time, according to Akhtar Ayub Khan, son of late Ayub Khan, it was no other than Arbab Saif Ur Rahman Khan Khalil who had refused to receive an amount of RS 500,000 ( half a million rupees in early sixties) for extending support to Ayub Khan. Arbab Saif Ur Rahman who beside serving as MNA, remained two times Deputy Speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, had always worked for the Pushtoon cause and remain amongst the most loyal, diehard and ideological member of Bacha Khan’s Khudayee Khidmatgar Tehrik and later on now defunct National Awami Party and Awami National Party. Likewise several others from this nationalist political movement have also rejected attractive offers of ruling junta. Even in 1989 when the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly session was in Abbottabad, one of the ANP former MPA had rejected a choice ministerial office for him, a residentisl plot in Hayatabad, choice grade 18 to 20 office for relative and a huge amount of RS ten million for changing of loyalties.
However, later the trend turned to another direction when the horse trading was formally become an essential ingredient of politics. No other than leaders of a religious-cum political part are responsible for the formal introduction of Horse Trading in 19912 Senate polls when its two MPA’s in the august house 84 had helped Bahrain Navy’s retired commander Khalil Ur Rahman in submitting of nomination papers for a berth h in Senate. Later Commander Khalil Ur Rahman as an independent candidate had got record 32 votes. Soon after declaration of results on the day, his Valla like luxurious house on Gunner Lane in Cantonment area of Peshawar was jam-packed almost close aides of late Chief Minister Mir Afzal Khan. Beside Commander Khalil Ur Rahman, several others including two brothers from Dera Ismael Khan and some of the ruling PML(N) nominated have allegedly made huge investment on Senate polls. And like of past, it was only ANP whereas its leaders have fired its two MPA’s on the charges of indulging themselves in horse trading. Most recently, soon after failure of resolution of no trust against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the ANP leadership (without making in public the charges) fired its lone Senator Sitara Ayaz. And couple of days back, Sitara had endorsed the ANP leadership charges when she met with Baluchistan Awami Party chief and Chief Minister Jam Kamal at Quetta, whereas she had joined the BAP at cost of retaining her berth in Senate.
In 1973, the Senate was made as compulsory component of parliamentary system for safeguarding interests of all four federating units with having equal strength. At that time, its elections have been suggested on proportional basis. And it was also made mandatory that members of august house to be elected from respective electoral college would be domiciled from that province. But beside the trends of horse trading, the civil-military establishment rulers always made their best for damaging its image. And in 2003, first ever was Jamaat Islami which had helped its most competent, talented and economic expert late Prof. Khurshid Ahmad from its quota of MMA from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Prof. Khurshid belongs to Karachi. In 2015, the MQM at behest of someone else, elected Barrister Saif from Sindh. Saif belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was counted amongst close and loyal aides of military dictator Pervez Musharaf. And now BAF list comprises Sitara Ayaz and she will be elected from Baluchistan.
Whatever, might be intensions or purposes of BAP, MQM and other parties but such type of nominations might be dangerous for the future of Senate-Upper House, which is considered symbol of unity amongst the federating units. Pakistan is a federation of four federating units and through Upper House, interests of these federating units are being protected. Though no one can neglect the economic expertise of late Prof. Khurshid Ahmad but it was a fact that at that time interests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remain at danger. Similarly, Barrister Saif in the light of his friendship established with military establishment during Musharaf regime, had maintained the same status rather than helping his Sindh colleagues for safeguarding his electoral college interests. Though Jam Kamal having the right to nominate his choice candidates in Senate polls but he needs to keep in mind interests of his province and its people.