Post-2013, the unfounded allegations of rigging were reiterated without pause by opposition parties, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) in particular. While there was dispute over the allegations, the fact that the electoral process needed reforms was unanimously agreed to by all parties, including ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, with only a year left till the next general elections, the issue lies forgotten, and even opposition parties have neglected to bring it to the fore in their attempts to improve the system.

It has come to the point where the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) – an institution much maligned by PTI – is taking up the electoral reform issue where political representatives have all but forgotten it. The ECP has stated that any and all changes as a result of the census can only be made if the results of the headcount are submitted to the electoral regulatory body by September. Not only this, but the ECP has also asked the parliament to table the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017, which the parties have yet to come to agreement over – if they want the changes to be in place before the next vote is held, passing this bill is important.

Implementing improvements such as electronic voting machines takes time, training and finances, all of which can only be provided if the law is approved and enacted as legislation. The law must be passed before the next budget in June, if funds are to be allocated for the changes, which doesn’t look possible at the moment.

Even though the parliament is still unable to table electoral reforms for the elections in 2018 and beyond, some MPs want changes of their own to the system. The Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is reportedly mulling increasing the limit of the expenses incurred during the election campaign of individual candidates. As it is, potential representatives are already spending too much on the campaign trail; winning votes is much more than simply attempting to buy the love of the people.

By mulling a change in the limit of expenditure and ignoring all other important electoral reforms, what political representatives are telling us is that reforms were only an excuse to garner support and there is little interest to actually work on making the elections more accountable. Members of the parliament need to focus on this important issue, instead of attempting to tip the scales in their favour by making money even more of a factor during political campaigns.