As elections approach

WITH the passage of time, things are becoming clearer and confusion surrounding the electoral process seems to be evaporating. Election Commission of Pakistan has issued notification for appointment of Returning Officers and polling officers for elections to the Senate and a schedule for election would be announced in the first week of February. Similarly, work is in progress for delimitation of constituencies — a constitutional requirement — and process has also begun for updating electoral rolls for coming general elections.
Though PTI and Sheikh Rasheed’s Awami Muslim League are threatening to resign and feelers are also being thrown for possible dissolution of KP and Balochistan Assemblies yet given the ground situation, there is hardly any logic for such moves and therefore, these might prove to be mere pressure tactics. It was because of this atmosphere that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Tuesday, categorically stated that the National Assembly would not be dissolved even a second earlier than due time and that elections would be held in July 2018. Under these circumstances, all political parties should now focus on preparations for elections and extend cooperation to government and the Election Commission to complete all legal and administrative formalities in a smooth and transparent manner. The political parties do not seem to be ready for the grand contest on the basis of their programmes and policies for welfare of the people. The entire focus seems to be on blame game and leg-pulling, which is polluting the national political scene at a time when the country is facing internal and external threats and challenges. Above all, some institutions are indulging in activities that are clearly seen to be favouring some parties and creating obstacles in the way of others. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is being accused by PML (N) of initiating investigation against its leaders while leaving others intact. There are also complaints that some measures and pronouncements of judiciary are also affecting overall environment for elections. There must be ceasefire by all so that a level playing field is given to all parties to try their luck in the election on the basis of their performance and programmes for the future. Let people decide fate of political parties, which is essence of democracy.

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