IRSHAD SALIM: There has been qualitative and quantitative shift in project democracy attributes as a result of the recently held general elections in Pakistan.
The third iteration of the ongoing process to elect third assembly which will run for next 5-years — after two successful transitions to civilian power –yielded 40 percent new faces, a relatively higher educational level on the average, and lesser average net worth of lawmakers (excluding the Senate).
Of the 330 incoming legislators, 132 have been elected to any legislature (national & provincial) for the first time while 129 were members of the outgoing Assembly as well.
The incumbent Assembly (2018) has a representation of 12 political parties as compared to 18 parties represented in the previous Assembly (2013) — a 33 percent decline. The largest party PTI has secured seats in all the federating units — 48% of National Assembly’s General and women reserved seats in Punjab, 72% in KP, 26% in Sindh, 15% in Balochistan and all in ICT.
PML-N occupies 45% of Punjab and 7% of KP seats while PPPP secured 59% of Sindh,4% of Punjab and 2% of KP seats.MMAP got 30% of Balochistan and 14% of KP seats.
Of the incoming legislators, nearly one third (116) hold a Bachelors Degree and 72 have a Masters. The Assembly also has four Engineers and 18 legislators have qualified in the Medicine or Dentistry while six hold a Postgraduate Degree including two having a Doctorate Degree.
Of the new lot, 39 are law graduates (LLB, LLM, LLB Honors, Bar at Law).
On professional diversity of legislators in the incumbent assembly (15TH NA), Agriculturists and Businessman hold maximum sway numberwise — 172 out of 330. Moreover, the Assembly has 13 practicing doctors and 14 housewives as well.
As many as 32 legislators have declared themselves to be full time politicians or political and social activists. The number was higher in the 2013 parliament.
On average education level of legislators elected to the new assemblies, PTI leads the pack.
Furthermore, the lower house of the parliament has eight billionaires, 116 millionaires. The numbers were higher in the 2013 parliament and with a higher net worth average.
As many as 35 new members have criminal cases pending against them in various courts. Half of these legislators belong to PTI, nine to PML(N), five to PPPP and one each to MQM, BAP and Independent. Any ongoing inquiries, investigations against newly elected legislators based on their past public office holding are not considered.
The overall qualitative and quantitative shift in composition of elected legislators marks a composite positive facet and dimensional change in project democracy albeit country’s political culture.
(The writer is a consultant, analyst, and Editor/Publisher of PKonweb.com, DesPardes.com and BE2C2 Report)
Data based on FAFEN Report and BE2C2 Analysis