The co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari kicked off his four day visit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with a busy schedule of meetings with local leaders and some choice comments against the ruling party. Instead of shaping up for an election campaign, the party has now joined the campaigning in earnest – with the visit and the open reference to the plans for the elections being the centerpiece of conversation in KP. While we have seen no official announcement or a defined list of election agendas, we may be beginning to see the first mentions of the issues the PPP intends to contest on.

While the party stalwarts like “sacrifice for democracy” and “champions of the poor” make their expected appearance more specific ones can be gleaned from Zardari comments – fighting for the rights of the Pakhtuns and the newest addition to the list, electoral reform.

Mr Zadari may be forceful in saying that he is committed to electoral reform to the extent that he will take legal action if the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms (PCER) failed to finalise its proposals regarding election reforms within one week, but his own views on what these reforms should be are missing.

Also missing is this drive when it was needed the most – during the previous term. Electoral reform had been picked up as a talking point now and then but at no point did the PPP make any effort to push for real reform or make new legislation on the matter. After Imran Khan’s first march on Islamabad electoral reform was one of the few hard won victories and a major policy objective. Not making any significant progress in the years that followed is the fault of all parties, especially the opposition since this was their agenda.

So while Mr Zardari calls for rushed election reform and appears like a man with a policy, he did very little when he had time and opportunity to bring meaningful reform.