The country’s need for free, fair and transparent general elections was underlined by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim when the People's Party chief in Punjab, Mian Manzoor Wattoo, called on him at Islamabad on Thursday. At risk, he warned, was the entire system of governance. Indeed, it is hard to disagree with the premonition the CEC has sounded. The entire nation, fed up with the corrupt and illegal ways of the present ruling circles and the growing pressures of life because of misgovernance, is keenly looking up to him to devise a system of conducting the polls that is without the taint of irregularities. And for that purpose, the Election Commission held another meeting under the chairmanship of Justice Ebrahim in which various measures were decided. The most significant was to start the verification of voters’ lists and the delimitation of constituencies in Karachi by December 17.It certainly is no mean task not only because the sprawling port town has as many as 8.6 million voters spread over 62 constituencies (20 for National Assembly and 42 Sind Assembly elections) where the delimitation work has to be done all over again, but also because of the resistance the process is expected to face. Thus, the army’s help to provide security to the ECP staff has been sought and each of the around 18,000 officials would be accompanied by a military personnel. ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan, while talking to journalists after the meeting, said that the verification and delimitation were being done as a result of the orders of the Supreme Court. The new voters’ list after it has been verified by the NADRA would take more than two months to complete, while the delimitation work is likely to take 15 days.The Election Commission did not confine the army’s role in elections to Karachi alone, but extended it to Fata, Khyber PK and Balochistan. According to the decision taken at the meeting, the army would be posted inside each and every polling station in Karachi and Fata and only sensitive polling stations in Khyber PK and Balochistan. Since the number of polling stations is also being increased for the convenience of the voting public, it would need the deployment of a pretty large force to manage the show. While one can appreciate the concern of the ECP to ensure free and fair elections and it must take all necessary measures to achieve that goal, it seems that other than Karachi where the army is undoubtedly required, it should be relying on the rest of the security apparatus to maintain law and order. It is good to see Commission to come  clean and say that the mechanism required to impose the electoral code of conduct was not in place while by-elections were recently held, but would be ready for the general elections.