IN the recently-held general elections, a lot of complaints were lodged against the polling staff. They either did not reach in time or they did not follow the correct procedure during polling process.

The polling staff comprised polling officers, presiding officers and assistant presiding officers plus, of course, the district returning officers.

Most of the lower polling staff was drawn from schoolteachers who are mostly in the habit of doing illegal things to overcome their financial hardships.

Hence the old and experienced contesting candidates made full use of their weakness, i.e., money.

To solve this problem of mass-scale corruption during elections, our country has a huge number of trained manpower in the shape of retired army personnel who can be employed on such national duties to include elections and natural disasters.

It is disciplined manpower and less attracted towards illegal practices.

They are also less likely to be intimidated by future parliamentarians as they have nothing at stake after the elections.

It is hoped the ECP and the government would think on this proposal for utilising retired army personnel in future national events.

M.AZHAR
Lahore

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Comments (7)

John
May 27, 2013 12:00 am
So you want the Army corruption spilling over to polling booths.
Nazir Ahmed
May 27, 2013 1:46 am
Excellent proposal. Basic strength of these men would be their freedom from being intimidated. Rightly briefed that they are to perform a sacred duty for which they have been called upon because of their being trustworthy people, there is no chance of rigging in elections. No criminal or bully would be able to affect results.
WAC
May 27, 2013 6:33 am
Mr. Azhar I fail to understand, like million other Pakistanis, why does the people in armed forces think of themselves as some 'farishta'. Country has been ruled for more than half of its history by these men and we are still reaping its "benefits", in the form of MQM, gun culture and Talibans. Pakistan belongs to all and everybody is contributing to its growth and integrity. We need to get out of this unfounded myth that only men in uniform are the savioiurs and best in the country. You must have over enjoyed your perks and privileges and let others also earn some money if they can do fairly. I totally don't agree with your statement "less attracted toward illegal practices". Trace back any fraud and most of them will lead to some ex serviceman. It is that you are not held accountable publicly, every body else can be ridiculed in our land.............
Husain Jan
May 27, 2013 6:38 am
Good option for sure but not the best one. The best thing to do is to enforce the law in letter and spirit which would mean punishment to the law breakers. If and until we do not start taking action against the culprits nothing will help. Example: In the recent elections many polling staff did not reach the designated places of duty but it is sad to note that no action was taken against them. The least the ECP could have done was to inquire from them as to the reasons for this in order to ascertain whether they acted on behest of any party.
Riaz Ahmad
May 27, 2013 7:01 am
Ex-army or otherwise, you are missing the point. Honesty and integrity is extremely rare in Pakistan, every Pakistani is far too willing and ready to sell himself for personal gain, their mindset has been moulded by an extremely corrupt and lawless culture, where everything is up for sale, morals, ethics, law, justice, loyalty, honesty and integrity. Ex-army personnel are not from Mars, they too are a product of this vulgar cesspit.
Umair
May 27, 2013 7:06 am
Well, it will be a good idea to implement this thing. However, besides this, we must train people from other departments to have such values as ex-army personnel. The qualities you mentioned, should be present in all Pakistanis, if we are to progress. Besides, we have only one army, and it can't do everything for us. We should learn to take responsibility for our country, instead of throwing it all on our army. (And we bash them for interfering in everything once such steps are taken, which is a sorry state of affairs.)
G.A.
May 27, 2013 11:46 am
For God's sake stop putting army officers on a pedestal of sainthood. They are a product of Pakistani society and are fallible too. Like their generals they may not be in favor of democracy. It's like asking the wolves to guard the sheep.
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