One of Pakistan’s most unfortunate realities is that whenever political parties on are the losing end of elections – they refuse to accept defeat. Not only that, they go on to term the whole thing a charade, a rigged affair. Even worse, they, at times, resort to agitating against the government in a bid to destabilise. This pattern that has been repeated here over the years, barring the 1970 poll. The losing sides form alliances with the sole purpose of sending the elected government packing, thereby derailing the democratic process. The tragedy is that no political party has ever seriously proposed electoral reforms that would include consensus on a new mechanism for voting in public representatives. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note that the PTI has taken note of the opposition alliance PDM’s concerns about alleged vote-rigging as well as the more recent controversies surrounding the Senate elections and Nation Assembly by-elections, to stress the need for electoral reforms. Equally commendable is that the government has sought cooperation from the opposition in this regard. Yet the immediate challenge rests in the introduction of an electronic voting machines (EVMs) and electing Senate members by a show of hands to scuttle any chances of money exchanging hands. The single constituency system is tailor-made to serve the interests of the elite class — to the exclusion of the middle-classes and those at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder While one cannot argue against the inevitable imperative of electoral reforms, I think that instead of merely focusing on transparency in the Senate elections and changing the vote-casting mechanism — we have to look at the bigger picture. The fault actually lies in the single constituency system for electing members to the legislatures. The latter has encouraged and promoted the politics of graft and entitlement — an off-shoot of feudalism — which is the mother of all ills afflicting our body politics. The system is tailor-made to serve the interests of the elite class to the exclusion of the middle-classes and people at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder. Nobody from the middle-class can afford to contest elections under this system as to do so costs Rs70-80 million. The single constituency system perpetuates the hold of the landed aristocracy and urban elite on political power centres. It also encourages power politics; helps non-democratic forces to manipulate election results; empowers the electables who often sell their souls and are used for political engineering to make and break governments; different factions blackmail the party leadership and zealously safeguard their vested interests. The system also facilitates the buying and selling loyalties during Senate elections. In my considered view — morphed as a result of the minute study of the ills of our political system as well as those globally, in the context of their relevance to respective social and cultural values — in order to ensure free and fair elections and the formation of a truly representative government we must discard the single constituency system and switch over to one of proportional representation. This provides the best solution to erode the grip of feudal lords and the elite classes on the political power which they use to advance their vested interests at the cost of the welfare of the masses. This system evolved in Europe during the nineteen century, is prevalent in Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, Norway, Germany and a number of other countries with some variations suiting their own social milieus. In this system, the people vote for the parties and candidates secure representation in the assemblies according to the percentage of votes they poll. The party then presents the list of the individuals it would like to represent the party in parliament. The party also has the power to withdraw the name of any member who fails to deliver or who does not kowtow the party line. In this way, no member or group can blackmail the party leadership for their own political agendas. Above all, it eliminates the phenomenon of political engineering by the powers-that-be. The system also ensures representation of the smaller regional parties at the national level and discourages fissiparous tendencies. Another reform that is urgently needed is making voting in elections mandatory, while modern technology ought to be used for polling votes. This will enhance the stake of the people in the political affairs of the country and also help in gauging the real support of political entities among the masses. Senate seats can also be distributed among the parties according to the percentage of votes won in the general elections from each province. Therefore, my advice to PDM is that instead of striving to topple the government — it would do better to engage with the Centre for the above proposed reforms in order to put the country back on track.