ECP and democracy... By Imran
10 February, 2014
Being a third tier of democracy, the local bodies system is necessary to ensure good governance, timely delivery of justice to the common man at his/her door step and to manage the law and order challenges. A local government system creates political awareness and enthusiasm among the mass and provides the basis for a new and fresh leadership. On the other hand the system makes it possible to resolve petty issues between people through arbitration at the Union Council level, thereby narrowing the need to visit police stations or to turn to the courts at every instance.
On the flip side, it relieves the police and the courts of unnecessary arbitration. In this sense local body elections carry lots of benefits for society. Our inability to have local government stems from the absence of strong institutions. The conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in managing the local bodies election bears out this fact.
An independent ECP is necessary for the development of democracy in any country. And for a country like Pakistan a robust, vigilant and independent ECP is badly required to sustain a fledgling democracy. Every government, whether civilian or military, had found the ECP an easy prey to use for its advantage. The constitution of Pakistan makes it mandatory for every organ of the state to assist, and not use the ECP in organizing and conducting elections in the country, while it is the duty of the ECP to see to it that it conducts free and fair elections. After the passage of the 18th amendment, the ECP has become independent though its defiance has been known to soften when politically expedient.