The decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday to ban recruitment in government departments is a good beginning towards holding of fair and transparent elections.
In the backdrop of reports that the incumbent Prime Minister was diverting huge funds meant even for important projects like Diamer-Bhasha Dam for projects in his own constituency in Gujar Khan, the Commission also banned diversion of funds and indirectly acknowledged pre-poll rigging by Raja Pervez Ashraf.
The Commission has moved rather belatedly on the issue as there have been reports in national media about large-scale recruitments in government departments ahead of general elections.
Only the other day, the Prime Minister decided to regularize the services of over one hundred thousand Lady Health Workers, which is clearly part of the pre-poll rigging plan.
It is all the more ironical that the Federal Government of PPP has taken credit for their regularization ahead of elections but it would be the provinces that would ultimately bear the burden of this wholesale regularization that goes against the spirit of the 18th constitutional amendment.
Recruitment and diversion of funds are just two examples of misuse of authority by the incumbent governments as there are daily reports of arranging public meetings at government expense and announcement of election-related water, gas, electricity, education and health schemes in different parts of the country.
These are the things that were agitated during historic Long March led by Dr. Tahirul Qadri which showed that people were now fully alive to corrupt practices in the electoral process and want an end to them to ensure fair elections in true sense of the word.
ECP is surely independent and neutral but it has yet to establish that it has the capacity and will to exercise its independent authority for the cherished objective of transparent polls.
The ECP headed by Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim knows it fully well that the coming election is mother of all elections and therefore, it will have to exercise the required vigilance to enforce electoral laws in letter and in spirit.