Alarming, though not so surprising, information that has come to public knowledge about the default the hundreds of the outgoing people’s representatives have committed in clearing their dues for the use of electricity and telephone facilities would have remained hidden had the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) not made their candidature for the general elections contingent upon their clearance. It is most unfortunate that the list also includes the names of former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, several of his cabinet colleagues, some party heads and top ranking leaders of political parties. The total amount of default runs into tens of millions of rupees that they have to clear by April 4, just a day before the scrutiny of nomination papers is due to be completed. No further comments are, perhaps, called for to describe the pathetic situation of the polity – the disregard of law and sheer bad governance by these democratically elected lawmakers – after the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Justice (r) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, has politely but so succinctly remarked, “I really wonder if they deserve to be part of the Parliament with this kind of conduct.”The question of the disqualification of fake degree holders, the grant of voting rights to the expatriates and several other election-related matters are also heating up in the current state of election frenzy and form part of the everyday fare of the media. The Supreme Court has reportedly issued guidelines about some of these issues for the benefit of the ECP. It has, for example, asked the ECP to dispose of the cases of fake degree holders by April 4. Obviously, the question of fake degrees is no longer relevant for the coming elections because of the change in law, but those who have cheated the ECP in the past when graduation was a prerequisite to contesting the polls must be taken to task. To recall, when the issue of the fake degrees of parliamentarians came to light and they began to be unseated, almost all political parties found that they were losing electable members and, thus, rushed into passing legislation to remove the condition of graduation in the future.Similarly, in the case of expatriates, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry directed that the government can issue an ordinance to sort out the hitches in letting them exercise their right to vote. He was perturbed at the ECP’s plea that in case the matter of their voting was now decided it might jeopardise the electoral prospects and maintained that the court orders to that effect were passed as far back as 2011. The ECP could get help from other official agencies, Foreign Office, Nadra, etc.No doubt, the task appears to be stupendous, made more daunting by the outgoing political setup that cared little for judicial verdicts. Nevertheless, the whole nation expects that the combined efforts of the ECP, the judiciary and the guarantors of security like the police and the army that would be providing 50,000 of its men to keep peace during the polls would bear fruit. And free and fair general elections carrying the stamp of articles 62 and 63 are held.