Recently, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) made an alarming revelation before the Supreme Court that some 37,185,998 voters from the total of 81,213,741 in 2007 had been declared by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to be dubious or unverified. The court had been told that only 44,027,743 were verified voters in 2007. Therefore, as a result about 45.78 percent seats of the National and Provincial Assemblies have become doubtful. The figures that were quoted by the Secretary Election Commission, in support of his shocking statement, are absolutely unbelievable. Indeed, this has been a sad saga for parliamentary democracy in Pakistan, which we have all along been boasting about. Unfortunately, we have closed our eyes to the rape of democracy in our land by successive governments that leaves one speechless. Anyway, when the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry inquired about those who were responsible for the fake electoral rolls, the Secretary Election Commission had no satisfactory answer. This left the Supreme Court with no choice but to take immediate action against the existing electoral system, whose creditability has been badly damaged. More so, the Chief Justice displayed a remarkable restraint by not commenting on the constitutional and legal status of the present Parliament, which had ushered in a new dawn of democracy after the 2008 general elections that were based on the same electoral process in which about 45 percent seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies are now confirmed as dubious by the Election Commission. Although Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry withheld his observation on the status of Parliament, he ordered the correction of the electoral rolls according to NADRAs data and censured the Commission for failing to carry out its constitutional duty, that is, to maintain, correct and update its record on a regular basis. But this is not as simple a problem as it may appear on surface. Between the passing of an order by the Supreme Court and its actual implementation in letter and in spirit, there is a lot of rough ground and many obstacles not easy to cross. It is not only a matter of fake electoral rolls, but also that of a good percentage of our elected parliamentarians having fake degrees. Although the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the universities concerned have confirmed that the degrees of a number of parliamentarians are bogus, nothing has been done in this regard. In the same vein, most income tax returns of our so-called lawmakers are either incomplete or fake, since many of them have bank accounts, properties and big business established abroad. Thus, they continue to successfully conceal their assets from the government. The Supreme Court has a large number of cases lying pending for years, while more and more keep on adding - although many cases have been cleared during the last three years - due to the governments foot-dragging on certain issues and its failure to implement the courts verdict, be it the issue of fake degrees, corruption, mismanagement, NRO, or Swiss Bank accounts. There are growing fears about an unfortunate stand-off between these two major pillars of the state the executive and the judiciary. The latest example is the Supreme Courts contempt case against two PPP stalwarts from Sindh. Reportedly, Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza has threatened that the entire Sindh Assembly will go to jail, if any PPP leader is convicted by the apex court. It is unfortunate that these champions of democracy who have always blamed non-democratic forces for not allowing the system to blossom, are ignoring their own behaviour, refusing to learn any lesson from the bitter experiences of the past. With the rise in the oil prices once again since April 01, 2011; the economic meltdown at an alarming speed; the law and order situation showing little improvement with Karachi constantly ablaze; and with unrest in the cities and a war-like situation along the Pak-Afghan border, the gathering storm on the political and parliamentary horizon does not auger well for a peaceful environment so essential for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. n The writer is the President of the Pakistan National Forum.