Do no more harm. The Khakis, Qazis and Baboos together with the politicians that they have propelled into power have inflicted misery on the people. Change is inevitable either through the bullet or ballot, and as a nation we have to choose our course.

After unsuccessfully trying all other options, a credible ballot seems to be the only viable choice. Ayub Khan’s controlled democracy; Yahya Khan’s after election manipulation, Zia’s manipulated elections and Talibanization, Musharraf’s enlightenment combined with manipulation have all failed. The will of the people must prevail; electoral fraud has to be contained at all costs.

Elections in 1970 remain the first and last credible electoral exercise. While the Khakis are credited for holding the first and only honest ballot, the break-up of Quaid’s Pakistan took place when the people’s mandate was over ruled. The 1973 unanimous Constitution is a gift of that era enacted by the only freely elected parliamentarians to date.

Election results in 1970 came as a shock for the establishment. Ayub Khan managed his controlled democracy through the thanas responsible for getting the BD member (Basic Democrat) elected and then controlled. In the presidential elections of 1964, the all powerful Khan was defeated in Karachi mainly because of the students who surrounded the thanas enabling the BD members to vote for Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. In a free and fair election, the people voted for change and against the negative forces of the status-quo.

Compared to the rigging in 2013, the elections in 1977 were much fairer; yet the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was toppled. The ISI was in the driver’s seat through its newly formed election cell. Since then, every election has been manipulated under the cover of a positive outcome with remains un-defined and lethal both for the people and the state.

It is time to define the positive outcome which has been desired through successive manipulated electoral exercises. The Ayub era produced the infamous 22 families who managed to control the resources of the nation, Quaid’s Pakistan was disintegrated during the Yahya regime, Zia destroyed all civilian institutions and created the Mullah warriors, and Musharraf through the manipulated ballot allowed the Mullahs to rule two provinces and then indulged in the war on terror. Manipulated ballots have created disasters, not positive outcomes.

The rigged elections of 2013 have brought an incompetent government into power that has failed on all fronts. Instead of much needed change, it has even failed to maintain the status-quo. We are not moving upwards, the spiral is downwards. Recently, we were forced to use tongas and bicycles for transport as fuel distribution was disrupted.

Through the National Action Plan (NAP), the menace of terrorism is being addressed. The Khakis are in the driver’s seat. As a nation we have to cleanse the country of this scrooge. Every organ of the state has to play its role with diligence which will only be possible through accountability.

Voter’s accountability is enforced through a credible ballot. Elected representatives in turn hold vital state organs accountable. It is through this chain of accountability that modern states are governed. Lack of governance in the country is a result of this total lack of checks and balance. The Khakis, Qazis and Baboos together with the political leadership create crises of all sorts with total cluelessness. When the country was flooded, the rulers had no clue where the water had come from; the same is true about the fuel crisis. No one seems to know what actually caused it.

The state’s ability to harm the nation has to be blunted. People have to take charge of their destiny. Vital organs of state have to be made subservient to national interests. Today the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the advice of the Prime Minister has approved a 10% increase in the emoluments of the judges of the superior judiciary. It is time to make public their existing salaries which are not being enhanced so that the nation can conduct a cost/benefit analysis.

Laloo Prasad, after being elected through a credible ballot, was appointed the minister of Railways in India. He was able to turn around the massive train network by basing every decision on the basis of, benefit to the public. Every file that reached his office had to justify this interest and as a result the service delivery improved manifold.

The mess that we are in today is mainly because of four martial laws and ten manipulated elections. The lack of respect for the ballot leads to the terror that we are facing. Pakistan is a constitutional democracy where the role of each organ of state has been defined. Thi social contract between the people and state must be honored. After cleansing the mess the Khakis must return to the barracks. The election cell within the ISI should be used for the last time to hold free and fair elections and then shut down. The Qazis have to uphold the rule of law and dispense expeditious justice without fear or favor. The 10% increase in their emoluments should be voluntarily suspended till all backlogs of cases have been cleared. The Baboos have to serve the masses not the rulers, and together they have to knock out the tainted political leadership imposed upon the nation. This evil alliance against the nation must end. Let the ballot decide the future of the 200 million people of Pakistan.

 The writer is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation.