Islamabad, Aug 20 (ANI): With the next general elections looming large and the future of Pakistan centered on it, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has cautioned that a weak and unreformed election body would raise the risk of rigged elections with the propensity to derail the fledgling democracy of Pakistan.
A weak and unreformed Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would raise the risk of flawed elections that the military might use as justification to derail the democratic process, paving the way for yet another indefinite period of unaccountable rule and destabilizing a fragile polity, The Nation quoted the ICG, as saying in its report on election reforms in Pakistan.
The elections are due in March 2013 when the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led coalition government completes its five-year term.
The ICG report further said: If the next elections are to result in the smooth transition of power from one elected government to another and be widely perceived as legitimate and democratic by all stakeholders, it is imperative that the ECP be truly independent, impartial and effective.
The ICG added that the ECP was facing several challenges, including insecurity, particularly in the tribal borderlands, the declining writ of the state, and the participation of more than 84 million registered voters in the elections.
In the interests of democratic consolidation, the PPP and its main parliamentary opposition, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), should put aside their political differences and focus on empowering the ECP, the report added.
It further said that the ruling party and the political opposition must cooperate to ensure that the ECP's amended code of conduct, based on the Supreme Court's directives, does not curb legitimate political activity and disenfranchise voters. (ANI)