Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is still incomplete. The government and opposition have not finalised the names of the members on the two seats of Sindh and Balochistan so far even though the constitutional relaxation in this regard is of forty-five days. And the lack of cooperation between the treasury and opposition benches shows that the body will remain incomplete, as there is not a single common name in the proposed lists of the two sides. Hence, reaching a consensus will be a complicated process as the deadlock on names of potential ECP members is yet to be broken.

The deadlock over ECP members is not healthy for the political culture at all. The delay in finalising the names of the ECP members carries the potential of adversely affecting the working of the body. Article 218(1) of the constitution deems a permanent Election Commission necessary for election to both Houses of the parliament, provincial assemblies and for election to such other public offices as may be specified by law. The present situation goes in violation of the article mentioned above, as ECP is not permanent because of the deadlock between the government and opposition.

Only recently the new Punjab Local Government Act 2019, has repealed the Local Government Act of 2013. Under the new act, the ECP is supposed to conduct elections across Punjab within one year after it became law. The elections for local government in Punjab will be a very hectic process. It is important for the ECP to do the required homework on time to avoid any difficulties and flaws in the upcoming elections. But the question is if the ECP can adequately perform while it is still incomplete and there are no signs that it will regain its strength any time soon.

Moreover, in less than six months, ECP will be conducting elections on the provincial seats of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The ECP will probably be doing the delimitation exercise one more time as the number of seats of erstwhile FATA in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assembly has been increased from twelve to twenty-four. The ECP needs to carry out the delimitation exercise with the utmost care. It should make the earlier mistake of making all FR regions one constituency.

Taking all these issues into consideration, one can easily understand the importance of a permanent ECP that the constitution emphasises. And a permanent ECP means nothing but an ECP having its full strength. The sooner it regains its strength, the better it will be for democracy.