The revision of the election nomination papers is becoming a huge controversy as the days of the upcoming elections are drawing near. The fact that the parliament was able to take over the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and independently decide what the nomination papers should entail shows how the legal course of action is negated to favour the parties. There is no denying that the parliament should be questioned and made accountable for this amendment because the newly designed nomination forms now do not carry crucial information which helps the voter take an informed decision.

For the last five years, the entire debate among parties has been about accountability, declaration of assets, nationality, education, and tax returns. If the same information is omitted from the forms, then it makes the entire political debate that took place in the last five years redundant. If these are not the concerns or the criteria for which candidates are going to be judged, then the form gives away very little information to actually make an informed decision.

While the Supreme Court (SC) is being commended by some quarters for suspending the decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) – and thus allowing the election to be held on time – the lowered standard of accountability is a highly problematic situation.

All the parties were involved in the revision of the nomination papers without involving the ECP. This is against the constitutional bounds of the parliament and a move which should be censured by the SC instead of pressurising the ECP to carry out the elections on time. Certainly the need for accountability could have been incorporated in the verdict.

Even if elections do take place on time, they should not overlook these minor glitches and facilitate the masses, rather than covering up for parties trying to end the accountability debate altogether with these revised nomination papers.

Does this decision of the SC to suspend LHC’s decision mean less scrutiny for the election candidates? If that is the case, is this the kind of precedent we want to set for the elections? While the ECP should be held responsible for the delay in elections, should it be stopped from performing its duty according to the law of the country? The outcome of this move will put the SC on the pedestal - an institution which the masses look up to for justice.