As Election Day is approaching people’s emotions are getting high. The charged emotions often result in a brawl or display of vandalism or a show of electoral violence. One such incident occurred only yesterday when an angry mob besieged the vehicle of the former law minister Zahid Hamid. The sad event is a reflection of how little understanding of democratic process and culture the people have. The mob that tried to inflict violence upon Zahid Hamid is, in fact, a reflection of the intolerance that prevails in the Pakistani society.

Presently PML-N is in hot waters and such an internal rift does not bode anything good for the party’s performance in the upcoming general elections. The action of the mob was based on mere speculations. They lacked any concrete evidence for Zahid Hamid’s involvement in denying party ticket to their leader. PML-N needs to look into the matter and solve it as soon as possible. Even if some people feel uneasy over the allotment of tickets, they need to respect party’s decision. Yet, this does not mean that they do not have the right to appeal. If their concerns are genuine they are free to contest election as the instincts direct them.

However, reliance on force and violence establishes a very dangerous culture and environment for the future of democracy in the country. The gathering of mob in Sialkot against a political candidate is not an isolated event. In other places too, such incidents are reported. But the crowd in Sialkot took on a dangerous hue when chants of “labbaik ya rasool Allah” were heard – showing that the intolerant controversy dogging the party had not died down.

Moreover, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also needs to look into the recent case of electoral violence. For if the incident is left unsettled, it will encourage people to target their political opponents with impunity. This time tough competition will take place; this means a high chance of electoral violence. Electoral violence has long been considered as a powerful and preferred way of generating the desired results. Although electoral violence is illegal under existing electoral legislation, it is prosecuted as a common criminal offence. It is pertinent to note that most of the existing law deals with the procedures for conducting an election, with very little focus on issues such as violence and intimidation.