Electoral Reforms Bill... By Col.(r) Riaz
28 January, 2013
The ECP has released to the press and public some of the important features of the final draft of the Electoral Reforms Bill approved by it. It is an excellent effort to make the elections as much free and fair as possible and I wish the ECP Godspeed in its mission and undertakings.
At the same time, I cannot help wonder over our misfortune that our potential leaders - the contesting candidates - would need to be subjected to so much of scrutiny to ensure that the fraudsters, fake degree holders, bank loan defaulters, tax evaders, utility bills defaulters and other cheaters amongst them are not allowed to find their way to the polls !! In other words it is assumed – taken for granted - that there will be cheaters who will submit their nomination papers knowing them to be false, forged or defective and that there will be political parties who would also field such persons of dubious character to represent their constituencies? Such persons aspire and conspire to be the leaders of the innocent and unsuspecting awaam ?!! How shameful ?!! And, then they expect to be called as honourable men?!! What an honour?!!
Since we cannot entirely get rid of this menace and have to put up with the cheats, the ECP should take measures not only to check the fraudsters from entering the contest but also introduce a culture whereby such cheaters themselves do not come forward to contest the elections. No one knows them better than they themselves do. Any man with a conscience cannot do knowingly anything wrong or unjust, least of all an honourable leader of the men. To introduce such a culture of self imposed ethics and morality the only way I can think of is that very strict penal and punitive action(s) be taken against such persons – debarring them as well as their immediate family members for life and imposing heavy fines on them as well as on their political party for nominating such persons. Only such strong castigatory actions would usher in a culture of enforced honesty and self respect among our politicians who, unfortunately, right now feel no qualms or remorse for doing anyth ing wrong. They know that they would either buy their way out or get scot free due to their political prowess. Remember, some Dasti, defending so blatantly and unashamedly his and his party’s right to be corrupt in a TV talk show some time back ?
So, Mr. Justice Fakhruddin, Sir, do carry out the scrutiny but try to inculcate the culture of honesty amongst the politicians so that they themselves think hundred times before submitting their false nomination papers that could be rejected. Needless to say it will make the task of the ECP immensely easy also.
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)