PPP's Taj Haider asks ECP to investigate why opposition MPAs are staying at hotels in Karachi

Published March 3, 2021
Incharge of the PPP's Central Election Cell Taj Haider has written a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) urging it to "investigate the mysterious behaviour" of some members of the Sindh Assembly, who he said were reportedly staying at private hotels in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Incharge of the PPP's Central Election Cell Taj Haider has written a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) urging it to "investigate the mysterious behaviour" of some members of the Sindh Assembly, who he said were reportedly staying at private hotels in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

The PPP's Central Election Cell incharge, Taj Haider, has written a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) urging it to "investigate the mysterious behaviour" of some members of the Sindh Assembly, who he said were reportedly staying at private hotels in Karachi.

In the letter dated March 2, Haider referred to media reports that said MPAs belonging to three opposition parties in the province have been moved to private hotels ahead of the Senate elections that are taking place today.

The PTI, MQM-P and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) made arrangements for their provincial lawmakers' to stay at one place in view of their security. They would be going to the Sindh Assembly together to cast their votes in today's election, Dawn reported earlier.

In his letter, Haider quoted reports as saying that PTI had booked 30 rooms at the Pearl Continental Hotel while MQM-P had booked rooms at the Regent Plaza Hotel.

"This unusual behaviour of the MPAs of PTI and MQM residing in hotels despite having accommodation in Karachi raises concerns," he wrote.

The PPP leader called on the ECP to ensure that the MPAs were not "bribed or under any duress" that would stop them from casting votes according to their choice in the Senate elections.

He also asked the Election Commission to investigate who was paying for the MPAs' stay in the hotels.

Meanwhile, polling for 37 seats of the Senate is underway under the supervision of the Election Commission of Pakistan as a total of 78 candidates contest from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Islamabad.

Complaint against Sindh governor

This is not the first time the PPP has raised concerns regarding the actions of opposition parties in the run-up to the polls for the upper house of parliament.

Last week, Haider had filed a complaint with the ECP against Sindh Gover­nor Imran Ismail over alle­ged violation of the code of conduct for the Senate polls.

He had drawn the ECP's attention to reports according to which the governor chaired a meeting of the PTI candidates for the upcoming Senate elections, PTI members of the Sindh Assembly and PTI coalition partners in the federal government. The letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner stated that a strategy for the success of PTI candidates was evolved at the meeting held at Sindh Governor's House.

The complaint also referred to a statement of the PTI provincial advisory council, published in newspapers, criticising the governor on his choice of the PTI candidates for the Senate, besides deman­ding the governor’s removal.

"While the choice of PTI candidates is none of our concern, the statement confirms that the choice of candidates, right or wrong, was made by the governor [of] Sindh," it added. According to the letter, this is a gross violation of Rule (v) of the ECP’s code of conduct that states: "The President and the Governors of the Provinces shall not take part in election campaign relating to election to the Senate in any manner whatsoever and shall not use their respective offices as well as houses in connection therewith."

"It has become prima facie clear that the Honourable Governor has used not only his position as a Governor to intervene and influence over the process of free and fair elections but has also used the premises of the Governor House Karachi for the purpose of canvassing and electioneering. This blatant violation of the rules of the Code of Conduct becomes all the more alarming in the background of the presence of PTI representative in the consultative meeting on the Code of Conduct of 22nd February 2021 chaired by your Honour," the letter read.

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