FOLLOWING the election controversy and the resultant political mess in NA-75 by-election, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a strongly-worded charge-sheet against the Punjab civil administration. The chief election commissioner deserves appreciation for taking the initiative and standing on high moral ground.

Now that the institution has gone public with the matter, it must exercise the authority, conferred under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 mentioned in the Election Act 2017, to penalise the ‘unavailable’ officials.

The by-elections, besides raising serious questions over the ability of civilian authorities to conduct free and fair polls, has also put a question mark on the demands of some political parties that have often called for greater involvement of civil authorities in holding impartial elections throughout the country.

Khawaja Ahsan Suleman
Taunsa Sharif


THIS refers to the recent by-elections on four seats — two national and an equal number of provincial assembly seats. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) remained unable to run the polling process smoothly throughout the day in Daska, as polling stopped at various stations before the slotted time, while people also caught an individual who was allegedly carrying a bag full of votes with the seal broken.

Some of the polling staff also went missing during the night only to emerge in the morning. The chief election commissioner is said to have tried getting in touch with the provincial police chief, but nothing came out of such approaches.

The ECP, which is responsible for conducting general elections across the country, failed to do its duty properly. It is time the government took the opposition on board for electoral reforms.

Mujtaba Sohail

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021


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