Why do we hold elections? A question over which I’ve been pondering after recent GE election held on 25th July. It was Pakistan’s 13th general election including one indirect election and two non party based elections. Elections are mandatory in democratically governed states. Its purpose is to have the ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’. However, the essence of democracy is to hold free and fair elections. Unfortunately the essence turns into pungent smell after the elections. Instead of unfolding from the 1954 (first indirect election held). Let’s usher in with the first party based elections held in 1970. The election was largely contested between the two big players Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (PPP) and Sheikh Mujib (Awami League). The elections held in winter of December. The total seats in West Pakistan and East Pakistan were 144 and 169 respectively. Preparatory to the polling results military intelligence reports calculated 20-30 seats for PPP and 46-70 seats for Awami League. However, the upshot received after the polls totally nullified the report with PPP winning 88 seats from West Pakistan, none of the seat from East Pakistan whereas Sheikh Mujib won 161 seats from East Pakistan, not winning a single seat from West Pakistan. Then what happened is the dusky span in the history of Pakistan. We all have heard about the Asghar Khan Case pending ahead the FIA. To be brief, Asghar Khan Case is the event of rigging in 1990 elections in which military establishment devised IJI to cultivate PPP and maneuver elections to pave the way for puppets to form government.The politicians were bribed by then ISI chief to chop off the modus operandi for PPP. However, none of the liable is charged due to tortoise speed of our FIA investigation. Yet after 28 years sadly, the case remains vague. Anyways, the above stated are only two elections; there are numerous examples of the past elections. The latter-day examples which people like me have eyewitness are the General Elections of 2013 and 2018. In 2013 elections PTI emerged as the second largest party in terms of vote bank and third largest in terms of NA seats. When the elections were wrapped, PTI alleged a systematic maneuver from few personnel of military establishment and SC judges. Imran Khan stated about the one of the MI Brigadier and Justice (r) Khalilur Rahman Ramdy in that context. Khan urged government to reopen four constituencies (NA 110 Sialkot, NA 122 and 125 Lahore, NA 154 Lodhran) but the government remained stubborn on demands. Eventually after a year, Khan treaded towards Islamabad, without going into aspects the sit-in lasted for 126 days in Islamabad which included a civil disobedience, attack on parliament and other state institution building from PTI. PAT of Dr Tahirul Qadri was also an equal partner of PTI amidst the chaos. His propose of sit-in was to seek justice for Model Town massacre. But TuQ ended up his sit-in sooner without the justice. But Khan pursued it until the APS unfortunate attack occurred which compelled him to swathe. Subsequently, a judicial commission was set-up under Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk (appointed caretaker PM in 2018 elections) which rejected PTI frivolous allegation of organized rigging. Moreover, the verdict included the lapses from ECP. It’s better to rectify before it’s too late because yesterday it was PTI, today its PMLN, tomorrow might be any other Homogenously, the same foul playing was chanted post-elections 2018 but this time from PMLN, JUI(F), MQM(P), PPP and others except for PTI. It was all anticipated as we had the precedent in past and from the same political party which was against rigging mandate. But this election is in favor of PTI, so they are relaxed. Even then, sane voices in society urged the parliament to reform ECP and strengthen it to avoid such heart out. But who cares? The 2018 election cost approximately Rs 21 billion, oh god. And imagine that the over expensive elections results turned out to be rigged for opposition parties. If we really can’t hold expensive elections fair then what is the purpose of holding and wasting exchequer money? The only election which is believed to be fair was in 1970. Unfortunately, that transparent election was unanimously rejected by our establishment. Hence, rigged elections became the fate of Pakistan. When our institutions elected/non-elected does not want to rectify the faux pas in past, the country will remain heading in dark. To be honest, it will keep ongoing in the coming elections if we don’t amend few fundamental changes in our structure. It’s better to rectify before it’s too late because yesterday it was PTI, today its PMLN, tomorrow might be any other. Our parliament needs to resolve it before the next elections to shut the voices and restore the essence of democracy. The writer is an academic. He tweets @muhd_hani Published in Daily Times, November 9th 2018.