An elected representative is an individual voted for by the public to represent their interests. It can also be termed as a person chosen or appointed to act or speak for someone who has authorized him to do so by putting his trust in him through a legally defined process. In political terms, elected representatives are individuals authorized by a certain group of people through a vote to act, speak, legislate and execute certain policies on their behalf in a legislative and executive capacity to pursue a predefined political agenda on the basis of which they were elected by the people. In a modern day democracy, the public representatives elected by the people are generally allied with a particular political party and, therefore, follow their respective political party’s policies. Broadly speaking, the elected representatives in a legislature are divided into two groups i.e., government and the opposition. This divide into government and opposition determines the basic role of an elected representative in a political setup. The representatives of ruling party make policies as per their own vision of governance and enact legislation accordingly. Some of the legislators considered more apt in governance are given executive functions as well, to execute the government policies. These executive office holders are generally the cabinet members of ruling party who assist their leader, the head of government whether a Prime Minister or President, depending upon what type of government is being followed in a country. On the other hand, elected representatives of political parties who represent the opposition, act as watchmen to oversee, highlight as well criticize the policies and legislation being done by the governing party which they consider as a deviation from national objectives or harmful in the larger national interest. The primary duty of all the elected representatives is, however, to debate the pros and cons of every policy and legislation thereupon in the legislature. In a true spirit of democracy, all the elected representatives in legislature after a threadbare discussion on an issue, attempt to accommodate the positive aspects and eliminate negative ones to evolve a policy and legislation with maximum possible consensus. Once such a policy or legislation is adopted, the elected representatives are also supposed to monitor its implementation as well as evaluate its results whether it is delivering the objectives it was supposed to. Any shortfalls, whether in its implementation or legal lacunas are then intermittently reviewed by the elected representatives for taking timely corrective measures so that optimum results are achieved from the said policy for public at large as well as the country. Even in day to day functions of government, the representatives are supposed to put questions as well ask for clarifications regarding any public interest issue from ruling party representatives holding executive positions. The later as a part of their duty as elected representatives, are supposed to give official version with full details of the questions asked to ensure corrective measures as well as transparency and accountability in the government policies. It is, however, interesting to see that whether the elected representatives in Pakistan are delivering or close to what they are supposed to deliver in an ideal representative democracy. Primarily, have the elected representatives with a sound educational background and experience in governance been given priority for selection to executive posts, i.e., cabinet and parliamentary committees? Secondly, do the elected representatives have clarity on short term and long term policy requirements of the country and their voters in the fields of education, economy, commerce, foreign affairs, defense, etc. and their political party’s clarity on these? Over and above all this, are the voters really monitoring the performance of their respective elective representative to ensure that he is performing his duties as mandated; else the people may vote for a better alternate in next elections? In fact, all these factors followed cumulatively will ensure optimum performance of the duties by elected representatives leading to a strong democracy.
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