FAIR, free and transparent elections are the only way ahead which can better the ever-worsening law and order situation, save the sinking economy, and help many other social issues in Pakistan to be addressed through the rightly chosen public representatives in the upcoming general elections.
All this is possible only if the Election Commission of Pakistan is made an exemplary body by empowering it even further.
The efforts to properly empower the Election Commission of Pakistan and equip it with technical administrative tools are being taken at the highest stratum of the body.
However, some parliamentarians having the same old feudal mindset are reluctant to confer upon it what it demands.
The case in point is suggestions made to the parliamentary committee on elections by the ECP to amend certain laws to bring about more transparency in elections and to properly scrutinise the eligibility of aspiring candidates for electoral contest.
However, the parliamentarians of a particular mindset (many of them are of the opinion that women should not participate in elections, honour killing of women is their clan’s tradition and a justifiable act) have turned down these suggestions point-blank.
Instead, they have asked to form a committee to supervise the ECP.
The greatest irony that Pakistanis have lived with is that their own chosen parliamentarians have always been reluctant to be made properly accountable for their actions and to be scrutinised.
The proposal sent to the parliamentary committee by the ECP has raised eyebrows of many public representatives who deem it an attempt to keep them away from electoral race in the upcoming general elections, thus many of the important recommendations have outrightly been refused to be passed.
Primary of those recommendations is taking disciplinary action against the local administration/government employees found guilty of being involved in rigging an election. It can be said with no doubt that political governments assign lucrative posts to public servants of their choice, and as such officers can play their part in manoeuvering elections in favour of their ‘political masters’ who, in case of their selection, may again confer upon them more bounties.
Comprehending this situation, the ECP suggested the parliamentary committee to amend the existing laws and demanded of more power, but opportunist politicians realised a brewing storm in a cup of tea, and abruptly dropped this recommendation among many others.
It remains to be seen how the Chief Election Commissioner makes the upcoming general elections exemplary for the generations to come without having been much successful in empowering the ECP.
SAHITO ZAHEER Election Officer Khairpur