Fafen blames ECP for deadlock, suggests measures to diffuse tension

Published August 22, 2014
Fafen recommends a series of measures that may potentially contribute to a resolution that is acceptable to all parties. – File Photo
Fafen recommends a series of measures that may potentially contribute to a resolution that is acceptable to all parties. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to diffuse prevailing political crisis arising against the backdrop of PTI and PAT protest sit-ins in the federal capital, the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) on Friday recommended a series of measures to the government and the protesters to potentially contribute to a resolution that is acceptable to all parties.

In a statement issued to the media here, the elections watchdog blamed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the impasse, saying the commission and its members had ruled out allegations of rigging by political parties as baseless without any serious and substantive investigation or scrutiny.

“If any investigation has taken place, the findings were not made public,” it added.

The Fafen statement said that although the government delayed the initiation of a political dialogue, the primary responsibility of the impasse falls on the Election Commission.


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The leadership of Imran Khan’s PTI, which along with Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has marched on Islamabad – has been insisting that the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was its top demand.

Its other demands include re-election after dissolution of assemblies, electoral reforms, formation of an impartial caretaker set-up with consensus, resignation of all members of the Election Commission of Pakistan and putting all those found guilty of rigging on trial under Article 6 of the Constitution.

Welcoming the initiation of dialogue among political parties on breaking the current political impasse, the Fafen emphasised the need for strengthening of the dialogue.

The elections watchdog expressed grave concern on the recent political developments arising out of the questions about the credibility of 2013 general elections and subsequent failure of the ECP to respond to them in exercise of powers vested in it under the existing election laws.

“The failure of an institution to deliver on its constitutional and legal mandate should not lead to the failure of the political system, which must be resilient and responsive to demands raised by legitimate political actors and citizens,” said the statement.

Fafen’s recommendations to break the deadlock are below:

All parliamentary parties on both sides of the deadlock may consider the reconstitution of the Election Commission through constitutional amendment as the existing commission appears to have lost confidence of legitimate and important election-stakeholders.

The Parliament must legislate to ensure that Election Commission publically releases all result-related forms on its website particularly Forms XIV (Statement of the Count), Form-XV (Ballot Account Forms) and Form XVI (Statement of the Consolidation of Results).

While National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) verification of thumb impressions of voters as marked on ballot papers may be a long and cumbersome process, the verification of thumb impressions of Presiding Officers on Form XIV must be initiated immediately to establish that these forms are field and signed by duly appointed officials. Under Rule 24 of Conduct of Election Rules 1977 amended vide S.R.O. 705(I)/93, dt. 19-8-1993 for Sub-section (9) of Section 38 of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1976, Form XIV has to be signed, stamped and thumb marked by the designated Presiding Officers along with their name and designation.

Rules to invoke laws pertaining to the accountability of election officials particularly under Section 91 of the ROPA must be framed to penalise election officials who are found guilty of any irregularities by omission or commission.

Keeping in view the need for the electoral transparency, all decisions made by the current Election Commission at its meetings since its establishment along with member-wise voting records must be made public. The records must also contain meeting-wise agenda.

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