Free polls must to mature as democracy: Pakistani daily

September 12th, 2012 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 12 (IANS) Pakistan needs to conduct free and fair elections to mature as a functional democracy, said a Pakistani daily Wednesday.

An editorial in the News International said elections in the country “have a poor reputation as to transparency and freedom from rigging”.

There are reports of ballot boxes being stuffed, voters casting more than one vote in a variety of locations, dead voters managing a resurrection on the crucial day and putting their ‘X’ in the box and infants yet unable to walk somehow making their mark, said the daily.

“All this creative voting may be about to end as monitoring of the general election next year (always assuming it happens and is not ‘delayed’ for any reason) is going to be by the international community.

“This is a considerable departure from usual custom and practice, the more unusual for one of the partners in the project being Transparency International (TI) which the government has hitherto treated much as one would an unwelcome rodent in the trouser leg,” said the editorial.

The daily said that the initiative and some of the funding for what is going to be a $50 million project has come from the Australians, in conjunction with TI and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The next election polling will be monitored via webcams on a satellite relay that will allow an oversight never before possible.

“Who will protect these webcams from the minions of rogue candidates is not yet clear,” asked the daily.

“If Pakistan is ever to mature as a functional democracy it has to show the world - and itself - that it can conduct free and fair elections. For too much of our short history the institutions of state have been hijacked or subverted, and the electoral process itself become the subject of international concern if not ridicule,” it added.

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