The Post Election Review Report 2013 appeared on ECP’s website Monday, the EC termed the reported as distorted and issued clarification. The ECP pointed out that this Post Election Review Report, Strategic Plan 2014-2018 and the Draft Unified Law were presented to the Parliamentary Committee on electoral Reforms on September 19, 2014 and thereafter the EC deemed it appropriate to share it with the stakeholders and the nation to let them know how much effort has gone into this so that if any other quarter showing interest in electoral reforms should be aware of the same so that then they could forward any additional electoral reform proposals to the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for consideration. The ECP regretted that instead of appreciating this great effort, out of context version based on few excerpts of the report has been published and telecast.
But the damaged has been done as the report has strengthen the stance of protesting parties i.e PTI, PAT who have launched drive to topple the government on the grounds that worst kind of rigging was committed in 2013 polls by the ECP in general and ROs in particular. The credibility of ECP is very much at the stake now as after the releasing of report, even those quarters who despite having reservations over the dubious role of ROs and other concerned staff in 2013 polls, accepted the results. PPP and other parliamentary parties before and during the joint session of the parliament approved a resolution unanimously declaring that they would not allow any individual or group to derail democracy. Majority of the parliamentary parties also assured all out support to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by telling him not to succumb to the pressure of protesting parties.The PM himself on many occasion made it clear to the PAT and PTI leadership that he would not resign come what may. But since the appearance of Post Election Review Report 2013 on ECP website, the government is facing severe criticism even by those parties who supported it. PPP being opposition parliamentary party did whatever it takes to help the incumbent government in the ongoing crisis. The heated debates were made in the join session of the parliament against the demands of the PAT and PTI especially the major demand seeking resignation of the PM terming it totally unconstitutional. In the same time the parliamentary parties made it clear to the PM that they are not siding with him or his party but rendering support to save the democratic system. There seems no end to the ongoing political crisis as despite nearly 14 rounds of dialogues held between the government team and PTI and political jirga that strived hard to convince PAT as well PTI and the government to end the confrontation through dialogues, none of the stakeholders inched back from the very demand thus creating a political impasse.
PPP being a main opposition parliamentary party in the Natiional Assembly appeard to be revisiting its policy whther to support the incumbent government or else. It was evident by the remarks of Main Manzoor Wattoo, PPP Punjab president. He observed that the legitimacy of the incumbent government was in jeopardy as a consequence that could only be addressed by seeking the fresh mandate from the electorates. He reportedly told that PPP leadership decided to accept the results only for the sake of the continuity of democracy in the country due to sacrifices rendered by the party leaders, activists for the cause of constitution and democracy. He also observed that the ECP report had damaged the credibility of the whole electoral process of 2013 elections adding that the PML (N) would lose its legal and moral authority of having mandate of the people representing the voice of the people.
The release of report has further added to the thick fog of confusion already created by the protesting parties and gave much strength to some vested quarters and anti democratic forces to create political uncertainty and doubts in the minds of general public about the fairness and credibility of the 2013 polls that have been hailed by the entire world and boosted the image of Pakistan with regard to democracy and supremacy of the constitution. The ECP must not shift blame to observers as it did by clarifying that the report does not represents ECP stance as the commission is yet to submit its report in the days to come. But the report has damaged the credibility of EC. But, now after the Election Commission’s report made public, it is being feared that the parliamentary parties such as PPP, JI and JUI would have no choice but to reconsider their position and it would become extremely difficult for the government to defend it in days to come.
The electoral reforms have become need of the hour now as it is the only way to end the crisis.