It is all but clear that the call for electoral reforms was nothing more than political sloganeering. After four years of calling for change in the electoral system, finally on Tuesday, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) revealed its ten-point electoral reforms proposal. But this was done only after the issue has taken the limelight once more after an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) official requested the government to table the Electoral Reforms 2017 Bill, before it is too late. For a party that is supposedly seriously invested in the quest for greater transparency and accountability, a prompt from the ECP should never have been needed.

Among other things, the party proposes changes to the procedure of appointing caretaker governments, taking the power of appointing the Election Commissioner out of the government’s hands, giving autonomy over its budget to the regulatory body and implementing the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next elections. Other recommendations include for the ECP to provide voter list at least sixty days before the elections, with parties having thirty days to raise objections. All of these are very sensible steps, while another recommendation also asks for selecting Returning Officers (ROs) from all government institutions including the army.

While the army as an institution is seen as more credible than most, appointing some army ROs – a fraction of the total ROs appointed over the country – will not do anything but help assuage the fears of various parties, and that too not in entirety because the security force cannot be expected to take over the role of conducting the general elections as well. Each institution in the country has its own duties and responsibilities – the army perhaps the most extensive – which is why asking it to take on an additional role is too much.

While the proposal has valid points within, what stands out the most is the recommendation to keep all donations above Rs100000 anonymous. This goes against everything the party has professed to stand for during its short history and incidentally, the misappropriation of funds is also a charge PTI has to defend against in a pending case with the ECP. Apart from being an obvious security risk in a time when extremism is a very tangible threat, voters deserve to know who their party is funded by, because political ambitions and goals can always be bent to serve the interests of powerful donors. This goes against all the principles of transparency and accountability that PTI claims to stand by. What the party would have is more transparent elections on the surface, while parties are allowed to double-deal and deceive their voters if their donors so require. Considering that Imran Khan has alluded to the lack of trust in our politicians from the public so often, it is unlikely that we will start trusting them now, when some of them are refusing to reveal their sources of funding.