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Federal law minister Farooq H Naek. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Farooq H. Naek Wednesday advised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to work within its constitutional domain and ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

Responding to a point of order by Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, he said the ECP should withdraw the letter written to parliamentarians regarding submission of their degrees.

Chaudhry Nisar had informed the house that a letter was written to him and other parliamentarians to submit their degrees failing which a criminal proceeding will be started against them.

Naek said since there is no condition of BA degree to contest polls, raising this matter at a time when the nation is going for fresh polls, is nothing but “witch-hunting” by the ECP.

He also mentioned to another letter written to the finance division by the commission seeking suspension of grant to bar associations and bar councils.

Explaining the matter, the law minister said the government had promised to provide budgetary grant to bar councils and bar associations worth Rs 150 million out of which Rs 75 million have already been provided. But, he said, the ECP has written to the finance division to suspend the remaining amount.

“This is violation of the article 218 of the constitution,” Naek said, the duty of the election commission is not to intervene into such matters.

It (ECP) has to conduct elections and its duty starts with announcement of election date and issuance of the election schedule.

Naek said this money is not going to PPPP or any coalition partner or any other political party but to the bar councils and the bar associations and the way the ECP has acted on it is beyond the powers that has been vested with it under the law and the constitution.

“Such acts by the ECP will fade away the expectation of the people pinned with it for holding free, fair and transparent elections,” the minister stated.

“And if such acts cast doubts on impartiality and transparency of the polls, it will be conspiracy against the democracy and the country.”

“Elections are at hand and a democratic set is going to transfer of power through democratic means. This will be historic moment. So the ECP should focus on holding transparent elections instead of writing such letters,” Naek asserted.

The minister also advised the ECP to treat all political parties indiscriminately and dispense its historic duties to hold the elections in a free and fair manner.

He also urged the ECP to withdraw this letter written to the lawmakers and ensure such an act does not occur again.

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