Instead of preparations pacing up for the elections, there are delays in the process creating hindrances for the authorities to do what the law requires them to. The fact that there are problems in the delimitation of certain constituencies gives rise to the idea that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did not perform its duty well. The discrepancies, being pointed out by several lawmakers, push for the need to revisit these constituencies and explain the need for their demarcation. Although the ECP claims that the delimitation was carried out under Section 20 of the Elections Act, Justice Farooq is right in pointing out that altering the proposed plan should be accompanied by reasons for the move. These glitches need to be addressed so that the government machinery can move on to the next phase.
Same is the case with the nomination papers of the election candidates. The fact that it went unnoticed that the parliament grasped the right of maneuvering the nomination papers in their favour, says a lot about the nonchalance with which bills are treated. At the point, the papers do not carry information relevant for the voters to decide their inclination towards. It is crucial information which is missing. If the voter does not know whether or not the candidate is a taxpayer, if he is academically qualified, is not a criminal and has all his assets declared - the criteria for him to judge the candidate on becomes very vague and that should be a cause of concern. At the same time, the fact that parliamentary bodies usurped this right from the ECP to design the election forms without a debate on the issue in the parliament gives rise to the suspicion that these bodies are acting out in personal interest; which is why the court has to step in once again to ensure that all matters are in accordance with the constitution.
This is a huge test for the caretaker PM because issues such as these open the doors for political point scoring and can further aggravate tensions between parties – these are the kinds of problems his administration is meant to solve. It is about time that relevant measures are taken to control the situation so that the planning can move into the next phase and execute in a manner which ensures fair and transparent elections.