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Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah. — File photo
Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, has called for resignation of the chief election commissioner and all four members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for “failing to protect their independence”.

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, the PPP leader said his party would raise the issue of the “partiality” allegedly shown by the ECP in the lead-up to the presidential election during sessions of the National Assembly and Senate on Monday.

Sources in the PPP told Dawn that the opposition members would lodge a protest in the two houses through points of order.

The sources said leaders of the opposition in the NA and Senate, Syed Khurshid Shah and Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, would raise the matter and explain the reason for the party’s decision to boycott the presidential election after the Supreme Court allowed the ECP to advance the polling date to July 30 from Aug 6 at the PML-N’s request.

“The chief election commissioner, along with all the four members, should immediately resign,” said Mr Shah, who was head of the parliamentary committee that had approved the appointments of retired justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim as the CEC and the other ECP members.

He said through the 18th and 20th amendments, the ECP had been made a powerful and independent institution, but regretted that it had abdicated its powers and independence. “The May 11 elections were RO (returning officers) elections and the presidential election is the chief RO election,” he alleged.

The PPP leader said his party would never accept the results of the “manipulated presidential election” and continue to raise its voice against the alleged “nexus between the PML-N government, the ECP and the courts”.

Mr Shah also lashed out at the PML-N for seeking the Muttahida’s support for its presidential candidate.

“In my speech in the assembly (on Monday), I will congratulate Mian Sahab (PM Nawaz Sharif) for joining hands with the MQM and remind him about a resolution which the PML-N had moved in an all-party conference in London terming the MQM a terrorist party,” he said.

Mr Shah said since the PPP had announced boycott of the presidential election, its members would not attend sessions of the provincial assemblies and the parliament on the polling day.

A PPP senator told Dawn that his party would also raise other matters of public importance in the Senate.

Farhatullah Babar, a PPP Senator and the presidency’s spokesman, in a statement on Saturday again asked the government to provide complete details of payment of Rs480 billion made to settle the circular debt of Rs503bn.

JUI-F UNDECIDED: Meanwhile, the JUI-F announced on Saturday that so far it had not decided about its vote in the July 30 presidential election.

Sources said the JUI-F, which is sitting on the treasury benches at the centre, wanted to join the Balochistan government as well and was using this demand as a bargain during the presidential election. But the PML-N is facing a strong opposition from its nationalist allies on the issue of including the JUI-F in the ruling coalition in the province.

Talking to Dawn after a meeting of the JUI-F Majlis-i-Shoora here, party’s spokesman Jan Achakzai said that the Balochistan chapter of the party had shown serious concerns over the political situation in the province.

He said the JUI-F was a genuine stakeholder in Balochistan, but it had been ignored.

Mr Achakzai said that some initial contact had been made by the PML-N on the Balochistan issue, but the JUI-F was awaiting further discussion on it.

He clarified that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had exclusively focused on the law and order situation in Balochistan. He said the Maulana had complained to the prime minister that the JUI-F was not taken on board on several issues.

Comments (15) Closed

NASAH (USA) Jul 28, 2013 08:20am

It was not the fault of ECP that the dates were changed -- ECP was ordered by the courts to change the dates -- and it has to abide by the court order -- if anybody is at fault it's the judiciary for interfering with the workings of an independent and impartial institution, ECP.

PPP anger is misplaced -- unproductive and divisive -- selection of president from the majority party is a forgone conclusion -- why make a once in a life time occasion of peaceful transfer of one elected government to another -- unpleasant and bitter?

Saeed Shah Jul 28, 2013 10:12am

What difference would it make if elections are held six days earlier?

Karaci First Jul 28, 2013 11:30am

No doubt Chief Election Commissioner is very weak. He could not hold free and fair elections in Karachi. He did not try to stop armed twisting methods of one party that does not allow any other party to open their offices and carry out election compaign in city. This party collects IDs from people in advance and fill boxes of their candidates. Poling Agents of other parties are threatened and assaulted if they ever resist. Poling staff is from local government which dare not refuse to oblige this party. Why cant Election Commission get carried out survey of such crimnal activities. Is it not in the interest of democracy and country to get verified thumb impressions on ballot papers of four or five constituecies in Karachi. We waste lot of money, why not spend some money on this important issue.

Raja Jul 28, 2013 11:52am

"angoor khattay hain"

Guest63 Jul 28, 2013 12:37pm

in my humble opinion , dear Fakhroo Bhai known for his up rightness and independent thinking ( he had previously resigned from some high profile posts due to his this fair and free thinking !) should not let the Politicians to drag him into this so much controversial election , and He should himself abstain from being the chief RO on 30th July and Tender his resignation forth with .

Its pertinent to quote from the ex-PM Gilani who last week is reported to have said " if the court wants to rule the country , let them fire/wind up the setup " Its ironic to say but Gilani some how got it rightly summed up the indulging and intrusive institution into another institution's domain , this time . Its a New Type of " Doctrine of Necessity " being introduced by the so called Independent higher judiciary

Ali Jul 28, 2013 01:19pm

Iftikhar Chaudhry never ever allows any institution to work independently especially Election Commission. If he had his way, he would have asked all key institutions to work under honest and pious Arsalan Iftikhar who seems adamanant to ruin this unfortunate nation for his personal gains

M. Saeed Awan Jul 28, 2013 01:57pm

Actually these people are going to divert the attention of Zardari cases and to win people sympathy which badly lost in previous five years. Why Chief EC should resign when he did nothing wrong. All PPP leaders should be punished due to the sufferings they inflicted to Pakistani masses. Chief Justice and others judges are now ray of hope.People are not ready to listen Shah or psuedo leader Aitzaz.

NK Malick Jul 28, 2013 02:01pm

For once PPP is right. Presidential election case should not have ended up in supreme court. It was in the domain of ECP. FG Ibrahim failed in his duty.

M. Siddique Jul 28, 2013 06:26pm

We are glad to know that PPPs conscience is awake now after five years of amnesia during blind looting of national treasury. I hope now they can ply the role of conscientious opposition.

As far as Mullah Fazlul Rehman is concerned he likes to be in power no matter what. Was he blind for he last five years when Balochistan was burning when he was in power. Now suddenly he has become a spokes person for Balochistan. This man has no character, Nation beware.

Khair Khua Jul 28, 2013 06:59pm

The election commission should change the election of presidential election after Idd. The president is a head of country and all the parties of Pakistan should take part in election. The boycott by certain party or parties is not good for democratic process. If we elect the president without opposition, It will come back to haunt the government. While Nawaz sharif has his valid reason not to hold the election on August 6th, Opposition parties has also valid reason to change the date beyond August 6th. Let us change the date to august 14th so opposition can show their mussels at presidential election also. Why election commission is hard up about it. Like Altaf Gohar said constitution is not a book ordained by god. It is a manmade set of rules. It could be altered.

zuhaib Jul 29, 2013 01:42am

Speaking of that, reminds me of Tahir ul Qadri and his agreement with PPP Prime Minister Raja Ashraf. TUQ is being proved correct on all his accounts and none other than by all those who called him wrong.

Barrister Ahmed Jul 29, 2013 03:20am

This power-hungry, biased, PCO SC is the worst in Pak history. Its CJ must not only be removed but impeached by the Parliament for improper, unconstitutional orders and judgements. Musharraf was right in dismissing him, last few years have proved it so. Ch Iftikhar has destroyed ECP, NAB, FIA SJC,FC, the Executive Govt and the chief executives of our country, the national parliament,ictatorship etc, etc. When will this vile, judicial dictatorship end?

skhan Jul 29, 2013 03:54am

@Saeed Shah: Stand by Principles...results doesn't matter. All stakeholders should have been given the right to express and then ...the court can decide. Currently it is totally unjustifiable when going through the books.

Ali Jul 29, 2013 04:23am

As far as I remember, CEC name was recommended by PPP!!!!!!!!!!!!

M aslam Jul 29, 2013 09:34pm

@skhan: In this case there are only two stake holders. CEC who decide to hold the election on 27 Ramzan and Government who wants to make it after eid or one week earlier. If PPP has objection they can put their application to become party in this case or they can put application to revisit the decision in the SC. If then SC do not hear them then they can go for boycott or agitation. Now they are making a non-issue item a big issue. What difference they can achieve if this election be held after 7 days or 10 days? How nation be benefitted if this election be held after 7 days.