By Nilofer Qazi
Imran Khan accused the electoral managers of ‘rigging’ the election of 2013. It has been over two years since these accusations were made; a protest that lasted 4 months and nearly brought the sitting Government to a standstill resulted in little change, attention or review of Pakistan’s electoral system. Many who support PTI have also observed Imran Khan’s statements claiming irrefutable proof of pre-mediated irregularities & fixing that have been shared with the appropriate authorities. Where is all that evidence?
PTI supporters have also seen a campaign of maligning individuals, institutions and processes that raised many questions about the fairness of office bearers and neutrality of institutions overseeing electoral management processes without any results. Many of what Imran Khan claimed to be ‘facts’ have come into question now and some proven to be inaccurate where both he and his party officials have had to recant and apologize. All of this is on the record and better people have discussed and analyzed these details in much more sophisticated minutia.
My disappointment in Imran Khan aside, what the Judicial Commission’s report, yet to be formally released, states seems to be there was no systematic rigging by the care taker government in favour of the current majority party in power, this also problematic. I cannot pass judgement on evidence provided at the JC since I was not privy to the sessions but I was an active participant of elections 2013. What worries me and observing social media’s reactions and other discussion group forums worries me tremendously. Too many are using this Judgement to continue the current ‘do nothing policy’ on electoral reforms.
Pakistan is a very fragile democracy. The election commission is undermined by political interference, its office bearers do not have the capacity to ensure systems to oversee independent monitoring officers during any elections; the equipment to ensure human error is unavailable and excuses after excuses are made to avoid biometrics for elections. The use of government employees beholden to caretaker officials who in turn are appointment by electoral candidates cannot possibly be the appropriate system for a free fair electoral system. There is no trust in our institutions and institutional managers and hence some kind of trustworthy systems needs to be put in place. Cary on business as usual only serves those who benefit from the current dysfunctional system.
Analysts and political opponents now on the war path against the foolishness of many of Imran Khan’s Statements whether on the TTP or Taliban Office or 35 punctures, will focus on these,& use his lack of growing credibility as the basis to undermine the very very important matter of electoral reform. Credit has to be given to Imran Khan, he is the only political leader and party that persistently highlighted the need for a better electoral system in Pakistan.
Imran biggest challenge is himself.
Imran khan critics need to remember before they begin their gloat fest Yes Imran has many flaws. But bringing up fundamental flaw in our democratic process is certainly not one of them. He may not have proven his case in the court of law or in the judicial commission but to suggest that our elections were ‘ok’ and ‘lets move on’ is just as criminal and intellectually dishonest.