There is a broad consensus that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is thoroughly incompetent and unable to conduct a free and fair election. The question being, is the incompetence innocent or deliberate? Capacity issues can be resolved through training but evil designs are difficult to combat and require drastic approaches for their correction. For democracy to function, the sanctity of the ballot has to be ensured. In addition to ECP the National Data Registration Authority (NADRA) has an important role to play in the conduct of the electoral exercise.

Theoretically there should be no problems in conducting an honest ballot. Every voter is required to have an NIC with his photograph, which is also displayed on the voters list. A ballot paper is issued on confirmation by the voting staff that is delegated from various government departments. Neutrality of the election apparatus is essentially required. Established political parties like PML(N), PPP and MQM have deeply penetrated state institutions as such they invariably favour them. Instead of the will of the people, the involvement of interests prevails, blaming it on incompetence.

Politicians elected through manipulated elections lack the moral authority to govern us, as they lack public support. Without the masses a political leader is like a fish out of water which eventually has to perish. Our corrupt elected representatives follow the philosophy of strike while the iron is hot and indulge in loot and plunder to build their empires while in power. Instead of serving the voters they connive with the Baboos and Qazis to get away with their unholy crimes against humanity. The collapse of the civilian institutions is by design not accident, otherwise the rules and regulations come in the way. Public servants obey like personal serfs totally overlooking their national responsibilities. Their competence is only to please their hiring masters who in this case are the political leaders elected through tainted ballots.

The founding fathers of the country burnt the mid night oil to build national institutions. The journey started with very modest belongings yet everyone was willing to do his best. The focus was on expanding opportunities for the next generation. The Pakistan handed over from the first to second generation, was far superior to the one being inherited by the third generation. In 1994, we had five world championships. Today we have none-not even a single Olympic medal. The sports bodies and their office bearers are focused only on their personal welfare. They have proven their incompetence in all departments of the game yet they continue to hold positions of authority and enjoy the associated perks and privileges. After several years of individual tussle for control of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) one faction has finally succeeded in assuming control of the Olympic House on Temple Road.

The province of Punjab has around forty universities. It is widely believed that Aligarh University played a major role in the creation of Pakistan, yet with so many institutions even one province cannot be properly managed. What is the output from these nation building entities. Clearly the entire process from selection of vice chancellors to the management of these 21st century centers of learning needs a major over haul. In order to move forward, change managers not champions of status-quo are needed. For the nation there is gross incompetence while for personal gains there is no dearth of competence. It is a perfect recipe for disaster that leads to Mafia dons and Fiefdoms and the rule of the bullet. There has to be a major effort to combat innocent incompetence while crushing the deliberate type.

In the 2013 elections with Justice ® Fakharuddin G. Ibrahim at the helm, it was expected that the electoral exercise would be honest and credible. Fakhru Bhai had a record of integrity and was totally un-compromising on principles yet he was unable to conduct a free and fair election. The judicial commission blamed incompetence of ECP in fact it was a system malfunction. But unfortunately no remedial measure have been implemented or suggested. The Electoral Reforms committee of the National Assembly has failed to deliver.

As a nation we should develop zero tolerance for all types of incompetency and mediocrity. Merit must prevail as it used to be in Quaid’s Pakistan where we opened our eyes. There were role models all around. Self-projection and publicity was looked down upon. Every day that I walked to school on the Mall, I came across a gentleman with a hat walking towards Lower Mall. On inquiry I came to know that he was Dr. Rafi Chaudry who established the first high tension physics lab of Government right across the main gate of the civil secretariat. It was the first of its kind in Asia. Almost all our Nuclear Scientists were his students except Dr. Qadir Khan who as a metallurgist worked on the Uranium enrichment part. The actual device was designed by Dr. Riazuddin a student of Dr. Rafi.

Nations are built through competence and merit, not lack of it- as we see today. We must get inspiration from individuals who built Quaid’s Pakistan not who ruined it. The Khaki dictators and their created B-teams like PML(N), PML(Q) and MQM etc. are an obstacle in our struggle.

The activism of our generation has kept the dream alive and are emboldened by our resolve to deliver the country as envisioned by the founding fathers. Pakistan was conceived as a constitutional democracy and a welfare state. The founding fathers laid the foundations of such a progressive entity. Now it is up to us to remove the structural violations and rebuilt from where they had left. We cannot let incompetence come in the way of Naya Pakistan.