ISLAMABAD - The Panama leaks have virtually eclipsed the parliamentary activities particularly relating to legislation aimed at reforming the prevalent electoral system and other important pieces of legislation pending with the Parliament for long.

Background interviews with the leaders of various political parties and constitutional and legal experts reveal that the snail’s pace with which the legislators were dealing with some of the very important pieces of legislation it would not be possible that these bills would become laws after getting approval from the Parliament.

Some of the legal and constitutional experts have even shown their scepticism that the next general elections would be held under a changed and reformed system in the light of the legislation being done by the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms working on the holistic electoral reforms package since July 25, 2014.

But after wasting some seven or eight months due to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s sit-in in 2015 now the focus of political parties has once again shifted to the Panama Papers revelations involving some high profile politicians including the prime minister and his scions.

The case after seven months futile exercise to form terms of reference for Panama leaks probe had taken an ugly shape of agitation and now finally it has ended up in Supreme Court of Pakistan where according to legal experts it could take another months to reach conclusion as the apex court could give direction only for constitution of a commission and devise its terms of reference.

But again the commission could consume another few months to resolve the riddle of the Panama leaks and by the time the next general elections would be knocking at the doors with all the political stakeholders left with no option but to go for the elections through the same electoral system dubbed by some opposition parties as rotten and full of flaws.

The constitutional experts said that in between this time the government was also required to conduct a fresh population census long overdue and was deferred by the government for next year on the pretext that the Armed Forces could not spare workforce for its conduct due to its engagement in the ongoing military operation against terrorists.

Soon after the 2013 general elections there was an outcry against the elections fairness and by and large all the political parties, particularly Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, had launched a massive campaign against the elections alleged rigging and later the ruling party had constituted a Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms with representation from all the political parties.

The committee was constituted on July 25, 2014 and was given a timeline of three months to complete the task assigned to it but the committee due to so many reasons including the PTI Dharna and now for past seven or eight months since the disclosure of Panama leaks, could not accomplish the task. The committee held some 18 meetings while its sub-committee under the head of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid had held 72 meetings but could not complete the task assigned to it despite the claim from the government members that they had completed 90 per cent work and would soon be submitting its report in the Parliament.

Even after the laying of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms before the Parliament both the houses would be deliberating upon the whole reforms package threadbare.

Again for putting the reforms in practice the state machinery would be requiring several months and the chances of having the next general elections under a transformed Election Commission of Pakistan seemed bleak. So if the political elite of the country both in government and opposition really want to see the electoral reforms in place ahead of the next general elections then they must accelerate the legislation process on the electoral reforms through the Parliament without wasting any further time.