While Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has vowed that the next election would be free and fair, Chief Election Commissioner Mr Justice (r) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim has asked for a review of the Judicial Policy, but clarified that this did not mean the EC would not fulfill its responsibility of ensuring fairness of the poll. It was only to be expected that the PM would predict a PPP victory, as he did in the public rally at Gujar Khan, but as the CEC said while talking to a local news agency, the responsibility for a free, fair and impartial election rested on the EC.

Justice Ebrahim explained that the EC had asked for a review of the Judicial Policy, not for the judiciary or the army to supervise the election. From the 1988 election onwards, judicial officers have been appointed returning officers, but after the 2008 election, the Judicial Policy, as part of a comprehensive separation between executive and judiciary, prohibited such appointments. Thus the commission was faced with the dilemma of finding returning officers for all the constituencies. They had previously come from the ranks of the executive, but such officials had been found liable to official influence, as the elections were conducted by governments which were themselves candidates. This was the reason why judicial officers were inducted in the first place, and there will be a gap the EC will have to fill. This is one of the many tasks it will have to carry out soon, so as to hold the coming elections on time, and as well as possible.

While Raja Pervez will have relinquished his office to a caretaker by the time these elections are held, his actions now, rather than his pronouncements, will determine how much he will help the EC in its task. Though he too is committed to a fair poll, his predictions of a PPP victory do not mesh with this. If his commitment is to be turned into a mere prediction, he must help Justice Ebrahim solve his problems. A fair poll will throw up a government committed to solving the problems of the people who elected them. Thus the coming polls are important, not just for the next term, but for the decades to come. Therefore Justice Ebrahim needs the help of all national institutions, including the government.