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System of Elections
Political Issues
Moiz Amjad
(Tr. by:Sadia Saleem)


If we reflect on the prevalent system of elections in our country, at least two glaring flaws can be pointed out in it: Firstly, under this system the voters of the country do not get full representation in the Assemblies. Secondly, in these elections the parties do not compete with one another on the basis of their ideologies; instead there are individual victories of a certain group which result in political, moral and collective chaos in the system of the state.

To understand the first flaw, let us consider a hypothetical situation:.


Lahore 100 51 49
Karachi 100 5 95
Peshawar 100 51 49
Quetta 100 53 47
Total 400 160 240
% of votes 100% 40% 60%
No. of Seats 4 3 1


If we study the above table it will become evident that under our system of elections it is possible for a party, which on the national level has only 40% or even less votes can form the government, while a party with 60% or more votes must assume the role of the opposition. Obviously, this is quite outrageous and absolutely unacceptable from the point of view of public representation.

While analyzing the second flaw, everyone can observe that its effects are a lot more serious and chaotic than the first's. Before we throw light on these effects and the resulting chaos, it would be worthwhile to differentiate between the prevalent and Islamic points of view as far as political authority and its acquisition is concerned.

In his book "Islami Riyaasat" Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

These posts and offices of the government are considered to be very lucrative in procuring worldly gains and material benefits and it is generally believed that they are included in the rights of the people living in the country. Owing to this perception, it is not only considered legitimate to work for their acquisition but evils like fraud, conspiracy, dissension and illegal gratification are regarded as perfectly permissible. Everyone considers them his right and tries to obtain them to get wealth and honour through them. He even goes after them like a gambler and forsakes all his wealth and resources in the hope that if he wins he will recover all the losses of the past and the doors of prosperity and success will open to him in future.

... But Islam in absolute contrast with this common inclination has placed these posts and offices not in the list of rights, but has given them the status of trust. The reason for this is that in an ideal Islamic State, positions and posts of power are not considered to be coveted goals, but instead as things to be avoided. People who are devoid of any concept of the Hereafter, reward and punishment and accountability on the Day of Judgement undoubtedly find a lot of attraction in these things because they only see the bright side of them and are absolutely ignorant of their dark side. They enjoy the luxuries of life without any sense of responsibility and don't let their enjoyment get clouded by trying to think about other people's welfare. In the same way they don't take national and public responsibilities as responsibilities; instead they regard them as their right and try to benefit from them as much as they can. But a Muslim who knows that every person is a shepherd and will be accountable for his herd -- a man will be answerable for his wife and children, a woman will be questioned about her husband and children, an employer will be questioned about his servant, a ruler about his subjects. How can one expect that after understanding the gravity of these responsibilities, a Muslim will desire to take up an extra load apart from these by becoming the judge of some town, the governor of some province or the ruler of some country and take up the additional burden of that town, province or country. (Pgs 303-304)

The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said the same thing to those of his Companions who volunteered to handle these responsibilities. It is narrated by Muslim:

Hazrat Abuzar (rta) said: 'I requested the Prophet (sws) to appoint me to some post in the government. The Prophet (sws) patted me on my shoulder and said: "Abuzar, this is a very heavy responsibility and you are a weak person. On the Day of Judgement this responsibility will cause you regret, repentance and disgrace. This is only for that person who takes it up with its rights and fulfils all the obligations it imposes".' (Kitaab-ul-Imaarah)

In the same way, on another occasion the Prophet (sws) said to Abdur Rehman bin Samra:

'Abdur Rahman! Do not seek a post. If it is granted to you because of your desire, you shall [find yourself] being handed over to it, and if it is granted to you without your desire, the Almighty shall help you.' (Muslim, Kitab-ul-Imaarah)

Apart from this, the Prophet (sws) regarded those people as unworthy for holding a governmental post who themselves asked for it. It is narrated by Muslim:

Two people from my banee 'am and I [myself] came to the Prophet (sws); one of these two said: 'O Prophet of Allah grant us an office from the political authority which God has granted you'. So said the other person also. The Prophet (sws) replied: 'By God we shall not grant any person office in this system who asks for it and has greed for it'. (Kitaab-ul-Imaarah)

In this regard the Prophet (sws) said the following words about people who were posted on some important seats and were negligent of their duties:

The person who makes decisions among people will be stopped on the day of Judgement. One Angel holding his head will stop him on the edge of Hell. If Allah orders he will be thrown into a hole whose depth will be equal to a journey of forty years. (Ibni Maajah, Kitaab-ul-Ahkaam).

This is the reason that the pious people of Allah always refrain from accepting any official post or any other responsibility. And if by chance they are forced to take up such a commitment their whole life is spent under its burden. They find no pleasure in eating or drinking nor do they find any relaxation among friends. Instead of rejoicing at getting an important position they feel as if their few luxuries of life have also been snatched away from them. When everyone is sleeping they are awake. When everyone is happy they are anxious and sad. When everyone is busy providing comforts for their families they have the whole nation to think about.

After getting acquainted with Islam's view point on political authority let us again look at our system of elections. It will be clear to us that the second flaw present in this system, which we have earlier on referred to, creates altogether contradictory attitude and point of view. When elections become a war between individuals instead of between ideologies, then this paves the way for a lot of chaos in the state politics. Among these some of the most glaring evils are:

1. The foremost evil present in the system of elections is that an individual himself presents his personality for election. In this way this system goes against the principles of Islam in its very initial stages.

2. To obtain political authority, all sorts of tactics are used without any hesitation: money is squandered, the feats of the candidates' forefathers and of their ownselves are magnified and broadcast. In fact, all the peculiarities and traits which are always considered distasteful in an ordinary person are so deeply rooted in politics that no politician is considered complete without them.

3. Usually it is seen that only those people make their way to the top in politics who have an adequate amount of financial backing. As a result money rules the state and the people who actually have political insight and wisdom are stopped from entering the Assemblies of the country.

4. Pressure is put on the opponents in different ways: sometimes their affiliations are bought, sometimes they are intimidated and sometimes they are even thrashed.

5. Eventually when politicians are able to bag seats in the Assemblies, their first concern is to retrieve all the money that they had spent. They end up giving preference to their personal interests over those of the nation to the extent that national secrets are sold to the enemy. They change their political loyalties for personal gains and do not even hesitate to level false allegations against their opponents. The voters of their area and their near and distant relatives are favoured in different ways. As a result, it is seen that the reins of the country are handed over to such people as have no interest in the country's progress or its national interest or the welfare of its people. The entire circle of their interest revolves around their bank-balance, their factories, their lands, the welfare of their relatives and friends and maintenance and extension of their tenure in power.

Any person who takes even a fleeting look at our prevalent system of elections will be able to see that it is an amalgamation of evils which makes it impossible for any decent man to even take part in them. Therefore, such changes are needed in our present system of elections as can blot out the above mentioned flaws. In our opinion, our system of elections should be based on the following principles:

1. A system of proportionate representation should be adopted in the elections. In this way, every political party will be given seats in the Provincial Assembly according to the percentage of votes it has obtained at the national level. For example, if party `A' has got 40% of the votes cast at the national level and party `B' gets the rest of the 60% votes then according to our proposed system 40% of the seats in the National Assembly should be given to party `A' and 60% to party `B'. As a result the first flaw that we have mentioned above will be overcome.

2. Only political groups and parties should be allowed to compete with one another on the basis of their ideologies stated in the form of manifestoes. No person in his individual capacity or as an independent candidate should be allowed to contest the elections. As a result, the second flaw mentioned above will be removed to a great extent.

3. The political party will nominate its best people for the seats in the National Assembly. In this representation it is very important to keep in mind all the qualities and attributes which have been considered desirable for a person in power by the Quran and Sunnah. If any of the seats filled up in this way get vacated before the appointed time period then instead of having bye elections for this seat the political party to which the former representative belonged should appoint another person for this seat. In the same way if it comes into light that any of the representatives of a party is not carrying out his responsibilities in a desirable way then the party can appoint another representative in his place. As a result it is hoped that slowly and gradually men of high character, right intentions, high qualifications and people who are not greedy for power and position will find a place in the Assemblies of the country.

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