WASHINGTON: Pakistani Americans have hailed the passage of the Election Reform Bill, 2017 and the recent victory of PML-N on bye-election for NA-120 seat, saying these
will go a long way in strengthening democracy in Pakistan and ensuring the sanctity of peoples’ mandate to elect their representatives.
The Senate last week passed the bill on electoral reforms which also removed restrictions that barred a person from holding a position in the political party if he or she was ineligible or disqualified from becoming a member of parliament.
Many Pakistani Americans living in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia also extended greetings on the victory of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on the NA-120 seat, saying that electorates reposed confidence in the ruling party and its leadership.
Begum Kalsoom Nawaz beat her rival candidate Dr. Yasmin Rashid whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party had fought the election on the seat in Lahore in the backdrop of a recent decision by the Supreme Court against the former Prime Minister.
“The victory is a vote of trust by the people in the leadership of Nawaz Sharif and a rejection of the decision by the Supreme Court,” said Ibrahim Paracha, a Pakistani American businessman who observed that he did not belong to any political party but Pakistan.
“Here in America, we are all Pakistani, nothing else. Those who identify themselves with any political party are not doing anything good to their motherland,” said Ibrahim, who said that his greeting to Prime Minister Sharif was to express his support for the peoples” mandate.
Sardar Zubair Khan, President AJKMC USA (All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim
Conference), talking to reporter described the passage of the Election Bill, 2017 as a victory for democratic institutions and said that it will go a long way in strengthening efforts to implement true democracy in the country.
He said that every citizen should have the right to be office-bearers of
their political parties or form a political party as it was his or her democratic rights. He said that provisions and laws in the past to deny citizens their fundamental rights were introduced by people to serve their own vested political interests and ambitions.
Pakistani American women, while talking to reporter, also greeted the daughter of the former Prime Minister, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, for successfully running her motherâ€™s campaign in her absence who was being treated in London at the time of voting.
“She led from the front and showed maturity of a political leader. In
her, we see a successful Pakistani woman who is capable of turning the odds in her and in her party’s favor and has exhibited the quality of a leader who is capable of leading the country in future,” Jahan Ara Syed, an educationist, said.
She said that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif won a heavy mandate in 2013 but was ousted after the court decision after which he had to vacate his NA-120 seat in Lahore. “But election of his wife on the same seat means that people have rejected the Supreme Court decision and once again reposed confidence in him,” she added.
But, Pakistani Americans expressed their disappointment over reports that alleged that supporters of PML-N were harassed and many of them were prevented from casting their votes by using different tactics. They asked Pakistan Election Commission to improve their overseeing of election and voting processes to ensure transparent elections in the future.