Imran Khan’s hopes and dreams for electoral reforms in the country might finally be coming true, as the Prime Minister has written to the National Assembly speaker tasking him to make a parliamentary committee for electoral reforms. If the PML-N makes serious efforts to bring about reforms in the system, it will be their way of debunking arguments against the legitimacy of their government. Additionally, this will also be used a means to display their firm commitment to upholding democratic principles. Taking the teeth out of Imran Khan’s arguments will be a secondary bonus.

Imran Khan has not actively demanded for mid-term elections, but his discourse seems to be taking a direction where asking for them will seem a viable, if not the only option in the future. Opposition politics aside, there is no appetite for this in the political scenario, nor should all existing members of the ECP be forced to resign until the allegations of their involvement in rigging have been established. The Prime Minister’s letter to the NA speaker included improving the voting system through technological advancements, speeding up trials of election petitions and punishing members of the ECP that disclose secret information. But, Nawaz Sharif should realise that everything he does with regards to these promises will be closely scrutinized by parties across the board. Only pretending to do something alone will not suffice, and will be called out immediately.

PTI claims that its staunch commitment to get electoral reforms stems from a larger concern for the democratic system of the country. Being able to select the ‘right’ representatives does indeed increase accountability. But it should not just stop there. Holding elections every five years makes it easy for the government to become complacent and shirk from their responsibility to the people. Successive governments of Pakistan have been lethargic for four years after a victory in the elections, with the last year in power focused on making hasty attempts at having something tangible to show for their rule. Having staggered elections for the federal, provincial and local governments would help, because the people would have a chance to measure the progress made by the elected party to determine whether the party deserves another shot at ruling. Of course, this can only be done if the local bodies’ elections will ever be held in the first place. But with staggered elections, political representatives would have to remain on their toes to retain popular support amid increased opportunities of accountability at the public’s disposal.