ECP gears up for elections

WHILST intensity of rallies and public meetings by different political parties has increased over the last month or so in preparation for next general election, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also has geared up its efforts to hold the exercise as per the constitutional requirement. A meeting of planning committee of the ECP chaired by its Secretary Babar Yaqoub Fateh Muhammad was held on Friday looking into the arrangements and process for the next polls to be held next year.
It is a matter of satisfaction that the ECP is also planning to launch campaigns to raise awareness amongst the people about the importance and sanctity of the vote. Such campaigns through the media or other means should focus not only on encouraging the people to fully participate in the elections but also help them realize the real importance of the vote that should be cast while rising above caste or creed to the best contesting candidate. If we really want to take the country forward, we, as the voters, will have to do away with petty and outdated considerations such as that of ‘Baradari’ while voting. This is a sacred trust that should be exercised honestly keeping in view the larger interest of the country. Whilst Parliament has passed the new Election Act giving greater administrative and financial autonomy to the ECP, greater responsibility now rests with the body to put in place all the necessary arrangements making the exercise free, fair, transparent that provide equal opportunities to all the parties. Our electoral history is not something that we can boast of. After every election, the losing parties always come up with allegations of rigging and not fair play. As a result of that, we also saw one political party staging a sit-in in the capital for many weeks just a couple of years ago. The next election in fact is a test case for the recently empowered ECP. It is time that the ECP also acts as an autonomous body and put in place such a foolproof mechanism that nobody could raise finger on the election results. Then, it is also for the political parties to stop doing politics on outcome of polls, demonstrate maturity and act in such a way that further strengthen the hands of the ECP — something that is vital to strengthen the roots of democracy in the country.

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