The upcoming general elections of Pakistan are scheduled to be held in the first week of May 2013. Our 13th National Assembly is going to complete its five year constitutional tenure on March 18, 2013, and according to the constitutional mandate, elections for the next parliament must be held within 60 days, after the dissolution of old Parliament. It is a big milestone in democratic history of Pakistan that any National Assembly would complete its specified democratic period of five years.

All possible attempts at pre-poll rigging are being prevented through imposition of bans on any fresh recruitments, employments and allocation of various jobs by the ruling parties. The army’s presence has been made compulsory for door to door verification of voters and at polling stations. Under Article 62 and 63 of the constitution, qualified and disqualified candidates are being scrutinized and dual nationals have been decided ineligible to contest in the elections.

The ECP seems very vigilant this year, the CECP Fakhruddin G Ebrahim has solicited necessary support from the Parliament and political parties; however controversies exist regarding other members of the commission. The government has granted worth Rs.5.099 million to the ECP for making the necessary arrangements for the upcoming elections. The nomination fee for any NA candidates has been increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 50,000 and for PA candidates from Rs 2,000 to Rs 25,000, for corrupt and illegal practices imprisonment of three years with Rs. 100,000 fine and also a penalty of Rs 100,000 for violation of electoral code of conduct for the candidates.

However, there is little hope that the political scenario will undergo a major transition after elections. Whether it is PTI, PPP or PML-N, the public demands an immediate remedy to the growing inflation, unemployment, energy crisis, power cuts, gas loadshedding and terrorists threats that have shaken the entire infrastructure of the country. It is not the question of party or party leaders; in fact it is a question of the welfare of individuals of Pakistan and their right to vote for anyone who will bring prosperity to Pakistan and address their major concerns and basic needs.

AYMEN IJAZ,

Lahore, February 5.