The newly-formed Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms elected Ishaq Dar as its chairman on Thursday. The committee was brought together at the behest of NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and consists of 33 members from the upper and lower houses. It is interesting to note that the ruling party nominated eight members, while PTI, with the loudest cries for reformation in the electoral system, only nominated three. Ishaq Dar’s unopposed election as the chairman also raises a plethora of questions. His family ties with the Sharifs have indeed gotten him a lot of political mileage and he is behind every sort of political and economic decisions by the government.

Representatives from all parties in the Parliament have been selected for this committee. Does the presence of PTI members on the parliamentary electoral reforms committee imply their support of the initiative? Or is their participation only indicative of PTI not wanting to be left out? The government and PTI are currently locked in a stalemate, and if Imran Khan’s demand for re-election were to be accepted, the current Parliament and all of its committees would be defunct, which would make participation in this committee pointless.

PTI’s demands from the government have steadily escalated from a recount in four constituencies to a complete re-election in the country. But without electoral reforms, a re-election would only be as transparent as the May 2013 elections, which PTI was not satisfied with. PTI now has a choice to make, between seeking electoral reforms and pushing for a re-election in the hopes to gain a majority in the NA. The Azadi March is gaining momentum, and the government looks more vulnerable than it ever was, and in order to save face, some concessions in the form of reforms must be given. Ishaq Dar’s election as the chairman might bode well for the PTI, because a key PML-N member’s presence means that PTI has successfully captured their attention. Or this may backfire, as the PML-N has put a heavyweight in the ring. It is up to Imran to decide whether to accept the committee’s proposed reforms, or to continue with the Azadi March for the sake of his public image.