AFTER long, loathsome debates and a tiring wait, the government finally gave a nod to the appointment of Justice (Rtd) Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim as Chief Election Commissioner.

The point that let the government drag the final decision on the issue into temporary abeyance is understandable though not very important.

What is important is whether the new chief of this constitutionally independent body will deliver to the people what is expected and what his new post requires of him.

F.G. Ibrahim, as all of us know, has had a transparent and unblemished record. He has, in the first place, to introduce concrete and sustainable reforms in the framework and official hierarchy of the Election Commission of Pakistan: something bound to consume his energy and the resources at his disposal.

The ECP, even being an independent body, is seen by many as being ineffective and powerless. This misconception has morally allowed our politicians to intervene in the body’s internal affairs and influence elections.

Most regretful is the fact that many at higher rungs of the hierarchic ladder of the ECP succumb to these pressures without complaining. Their mindset, too, needs to be changed by the vigorous action and integral personality of the new CEC.

We should not forget that changing a law is easier than changing a mindset. The change of this psyche can fill the void the The ECP has apparently failed to do so far.

The ECP’s five-year strategic plan is still waiting to see the light of day. The plan, if implemented in due time, can overcome numerous flaws found in the body, and can also raise the overall enthusiasm of ECP personnel.

The ECP’s prime responsibility is to ensure free, fair and transparent elections, thereby allowing the people to share governing the country.

May God bless the new CEC with courage and power to eliminate all electoral evils.

SAHITO ZAHEER Sukkur

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