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This must be the most unique election Pakistan has seen in recent years. The campaign for Elections 2018 has kick-started amid a lot of uncertainty and infighting despite the claims by the unelected arms of the government to bring more transparency to the system. The media frenzy on a minute to minute basis makes it impossible to gauge whether the political system is being jolted or strengthened.

In this backdrop, no one is sure if the campaign has really kicked off. The situation on ground is rather cold, considering that it’s less than a month left before the elections takes place. The murmurs of postponement may still be heard till a day before the election. The party manifestos are slow in coming but what is worse is that no one among the voters seems keen for them.

A caretaker setup only for two months could be one reason for the jitters that are even more condensed now. Never before, perhaps, has the awarding of tickets to candidates been so controversial. Thanks to media again, the voters in various constituencies are shown as seriously questioning these ‘constituency politicians’, the ‘electables’ as to what they did or did not do for them in the last five years.

Yet, what has generated most heat is the requirement of a more detailed declaration of assets. But, as things turn out, the devil seems to persistently reside in the details. As the entire country wonders at the ‘undervalued’ assets, candidates are being declared disqualified at the earliest stages of scrutiny. All this while, the country’s accountability mechanism (read NAB) appears to be victimising political people and parties in the run-up to the election. That there is some method in this transparency and accountability is for everyone to see, because it is clearly partisan.

Read also: Get set poll…

To expect a free and fair election in this kind of an environment is a tall order but the political players seem hell bent on playing till the end. Get, set, poll.


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