The new Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan. veteran jurist F G Ebrahim, has said that it has been his dream to present a prosperous and democratic Pakistan to the new generations and that the ECP could make his dream come true by holding free, fair, transparent and impartial elections.
I think as a head of an independent national institution, the CEC has the opportunity to implement the political parties order 2002 which is intended to ensure that all election candidates are chosen by their respective political parties in a democratic and transparent manner. It can also ensure compliance with the provisions of law regarding money contribution to political parties by companies or individuals.
The SC's judgement last month directed the ECP to take some special steps towards improving the preparation of electoral rolls and monitoring election expenses, and exploring means and ways to introduce another appropriate system of election for real representation of the people.
According to one report, almost 20 million Pakistanis of voting age, the majority of them being women, are estimated to have been unregistered in the draft electoral rolls. To ensure that new electoral rolls will not have any mistakes of gender and address, the ECP must have authority over polling staff to take disciplinary action so that the government staff employed in polling stations cannot influence voters or the outcome of their area.
The ECP should employ a method whereby voting becomes compulsory for all citizens. Almost 70 percent of the population of Pakistan lives in rural areas and 35 percent of them are living below the poverty line. They represent almost 90 percent of those who cannot afford to spend any money to contest the elections.
It is a sad fact that our laws are faulty and full of loopholes which only allow very resourceful landlords, industrialists and political families with hereditary leadership to win the election seats. These politicians with a few exceptions are in politics only to strengthen their family's interest and consolidate their political standing. Laws should be made such that all political parties are required to provide funds to contesting candidates; only then can real representation of people's will be possible.
S T HUSSAIN