Election campaigns yet to gain momentum

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Less than a month away now the nation will be going into the polls, provided all goes according to plan set-out by the election commission. The political parties have kicked off their election campaign but the traditional enthusiasm and fervor seems to be missing in this entire process. There is no denying the fact that election time has always been tense for political parties, contesting candidates and their supporters due to obvious reasons but it has been an age-old tradition that the people usually take part in running election campaign for their respective parties and candidates wholeheartedly. Hopefully the election campaigning will gradually gain momentum by the end of this week. PPP and MMA have formally issued their manifesto but the two big political parties including PML-N and PTI are yet to announce their election manifesto for the upcoming polls.
Over the past couple of weeks some unpleasant incidents have taken place in Punjab like summoning of returning officers by an army officer and harassment of candidates. Although the election commission of Pakistan has taken notice of the matter but such kind of incidents cast a dark shadow on the fairness of elections besides strengthening the public perception regarding unseen forces’ involvement in the process. It is high time that the people at the helm of affairs should take effective cognizance of the matter nobody whosoever should be allowed to make prestigious state institutions controversial. There is already a lot of chaos in the country; we are having elections at a time when polarization is at its peak. Hatred, vilification and more specifically use of religion has become a new tool demonize opponents. The political parties are so polarized that they don’t hesitate in taking extreme positions whenever any incident occurs. Unfortunately, social media has become a dangerous weapon to spread hate online. In such kind of an atmosphere holding free, fair and transparent elections in the country will be a herculean task for the caretaker government. However, it goes without saying that peace, progress and prosperity of Pakistan is inescapably linked to holding of free, fair and timely elections and peaceful transition of power to the next government. And onus of responsibility heavily lies with the caretaker setup and the ECP, which is constitutionally duty-bound to hold elections in free and fair manner.

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