Recently an assurance was given to the nation by President Asif Ali Zardari that the polls would be held on time and that these would be fair, free and impartial. But this will only be possible if following decisions are taken and implemented by President Asif Ali Zardari and the Election Commissioner Honorable Justice (r) Fakharuddin G, Ibrahim three months before the date for general elections in the country are announced by the government.
Holding of rallies, taking out processions, delivering speeches by any means, door to door canvassing by any political party/political leader is banned. All flags, billboards and banners of political parties are removed and display is banned. Glorification of political parties on government or private TV channels is curtailed. Section-144 is imposed in the entire country in letter and in spirit. Keeping and carrying of weapons even in a concealed manner by anybody including private guards in plain clothes is banned. Any political party which violates any of the above orders should be disqualified for participation in the General Election by the Election Commissioner of Pakistan.
It is pertinent to note that in the past it was experienced by the people that there has been a very wrong practice in which activists of all political parties used to visit door to door every house in urban areas as well as in the rural areas and asking the people to cast vote to their party failing which they can be in trouble. This practice of intimidation by the activists of political party obviously harassed the people and their wish to vote for the political party of their liking died. To curb this wrong practice it is suggested that there should be a direct hotline phone number of the Election Commissioner on which information regarding use of intimidation tactics if used by any activist of political party in their area is reported by anybody. However, names of such persons reporting should be kept confidential. If such reports are verified and found correct the concerned political party to be disqualified for participating in the general elections. Similarly, the print and electronic media should also report such wrong practices and should also name the political party whose activists are using intimidation tactic or harassing the people in a certain area.
Government should only allow political parties to advertise their voting signs in print and electronic media. The worth of every political party including the ruling party is now very well known to our nation so let the people decide independently which political party they want to vote and wish to rule their country. If this is done then only the forthcoming general elections can be ‘fair, free and impartial’.
SQN LDR (RETD) S. AUSAF HUSAIN,
 Karachi, August 1.