The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wishes to ask for the financial autonomy promised it under the Constitution, reinforced by the 18th Amendment, through a summary to the Prime Minister seeking the appropriate directions to the Finance Ministry. The ECP was given both financial and administrative autonomy under the 18th Amendment, which made the Commission as a whole responsible for the exercise of powers previously vested in the Chief Election Commissioner alone. While the ECP is exercising administrative powers, it has presently to rely on the Finance Ministry for financial allocations, which opens the way to government interference. The demand for an independent ECP is an old one, and has been voiced in opposition, while the government would like to control it, for not only is it responsible for the conduct of elections, but also for the compilation of the voters list. It is thus the cutting edge of the democratic process, and it deserves to have financial independence, without which administrative independence is not particularly meaningful. A ready example is the ECPs decision to have the next election conducted through electronic voting machines (EVMs) rather than ballot papers. While this is an administrative decision, it also has financial implications, as 200,000 EVMs would have to be bought, an expenditure of between Rs 5 billion and Rs 6 billion. However, this is not the sort of decision, which could potentially affect the result of an election. Though that should not be the reason, Mr Imran Khans Tehreek-e-Insaf has laid great emphasis on ECP autonomy. The ECP is a body of retired judges, devoted to greater transparency in elections, while the government is devoted to winning them. The ECP has long been making suggestions for achieving its purpose, of holding elections in which every vote counts. The government should take these suggestions, including the latest one for the operationalising of the Constitution, not just seriously but with a sense of urgency, because the shape of the next election, which is not too far off, depends on them. Also, since the ECP has also to compile the voters list afresh, not just update it, the grant of administrative powers has become all the more necessary. The ECP will always be coming up with ways of improving the conduct of elections. To implement the concepts over the heads of interested elected officials and blinkered bureaucrats, the ECP has been given administrative and financial autonomy in the Constitution. Let it be given them practically, or the constitutional provisions for free and fair elections will be nullified.