After the tumultuous outcry from political parties across the spectrum against rigging in the elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has also joined the chorus, demanding that a probe be carried out to ascertain the causes behind the alleged failure of the Results Transmission System (RTS) on election day.
It was a well-publicised and argued fact that the RTS system was a technologically-complex application incommensurate with our over-all archaic election mechanism. Its limitations, from a glitch-ridden interface, to prerequisites of internet and smartphones, as well as inadequately trained staff operating it, deemed it an impractical and untried application foisted upon the election process. However, reports of the blanket failure and delay of the functioning of the application on election day has cast dark shadows on the proclaimed transparency of the election process, rousing contesting political parties bearing the brunt of the polls to decry foul-play.
PTI’s move to call for an inquiry by the Senate into the RTS mechanism is a smart assertion, one that demonstrates the ruling party’s willingness to cooperate by ceding the decision to a superior authority. The move is also in keeping with the PM-in-waiting’s pledge to look into all allegations of rigging and a move to invest more confidence and support in the transitioning government. Concomitantly the move also seeks to put to bed the undercurrent of animosity and dissent that has been rife in the polity in the wake of the election, one which is refuting the election results altogether.
While both the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have called the proposed inquiry a mere eyewash, PTI has raised the same concern as the other parties; How is it that it was only at the time of transmitting the results, that the system stopped functioning?
With the winning party also calling for an inquiry into the misgivings of the RTS, the follow-up should not be delayed any longer and be open to all to see. The investigation should be astutely followed through. The findings of the investigation, if conducted judiciously, can act as a sop to the latent tide of uprising that is sweeping across the country. For the newly-elected government to finally start the process of government building and for the initiation of a functional parliament, it is crucial that the allegations of rigging are dispelled otherwise the tenure of the new government will only be defined by a politics of confrontation.