For anyone aware of the depth of people’s feelings against the corrupt, the dishonest and the fraudsters who have led the country to the sorry state it is in, the stories about fake degree holders and defaulters of dues appearing in the media these days would signal that their hopes are well on the way to fulfilment. That is, If the combined efforts of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) bear fruit despite the powerful forces’ resistance. A strict and proper application of articles 62 and 63 of the constitution would throw out of the ring the dirty and the despicable that are always eager to get into the corridors of powers by hook or by crook to serve their own ends. The hope is that the coming general elections bring to the legislative chambers of the country cleaner persons who have the vision and the capacity to reverse the situation and, of course, realise the urgency of attending to the people’s needs. The Supreme Court has summoned the ECP Secretary and the HEC Chairman to appear before it today, after taking suo moto notice of the HEC’s letter to the ECP complaining that it was taking a lenient view of the cases of 54 parliamentarians whose degrees have been established to be fake. And then there is the issue of 189 others who, according to reports attributed to the HEC, have not bothered to provide certificates to the HEC or the ECP despite several reminders. As the timeframe is very short, it appears, a large number of skeletons would soon be out of the cupboard. Only two days back, ex-MPA KPK Sardar Ali Khan was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in a fake degree case. But the question here is how the affected political parties – and it is hard to imagine any party escaping unscathed – would react if their stalwarts and all are debarred. Violent protests and a chaotic situation are not ruled out threatening the holding of timely elections! After all, minus these hopefuls, their standing in the National and Provincial Assemblies would lose significance. The ECP has also asked Wapda, PTCL and gas companies to furnish particulars of outgoing defaulting parliamentarians within 48 hours. Obviously, not a happy tiding is in store for a number of them.

Relevant to the polls are two other developments: the ECP’s sharp reaction to the aerial firing done after some candidates had filed their nomination papers and other incidents tantamount to the show of power in Punjab and Sindh. Taking serious notice of the firing, the show of arms and the candidates submitting their papers with a huge crowd in tow, the ECP has warned that not only would the administration be responsible for any untoward incidents, but also the nomination papers of these candidate would be rejected for this violation of the ECP’s announced electoral code of conduct.

Apart from his involvement in the rental power projects case, former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf faces another predicament. The Amnesty International has charged that even after the expiry of his constitutional stint in power, he authorised the expenditure of as high an amount as Rs 961 million against advertisements. Certainly, interesting times lie ahead for us Pakistanis.