By A.G. Noorani
How can the law punish defectors without penalising dissent?
THE ideal of democracy is firmly rooted in the psyche and aspirations of the people of South Asia. But its practice falls far short of what the founding fathers of the states of South Asia envisaged.
Alone in the entire democratic world India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka stand out as countries whose constitutions are disfigured by laws to combat the vice of defection by their legislators. They are called lotas in Pakistan and aya rams, gaya rams in India. Mass defections first erupted in India in 1967 when the Congress party lost its control over the states in North India. Read More »Pakistan Politics: Dissenters and ‘lotas’