Crucial ECP meeting on Imran’s tirade today

Published March 5, 2021
The Election Commission of Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on Friday to discuss Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tirade against the electoral body. — AFP/File
The Election Commission of Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on Friday to discuss Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tirade against the electoral body. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will meet here on Friday (today) to discuss Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tirade against the electoral body, an informed source told Dawn.

He said members of the Commission contacted the Chief Election Commi­ssi­oner, asking him to summon a meeting to discuss the highly objectionable rem­arks made by the country’s chief executive.

“The Government should amend the constitution, if it wants open voting for Senate elections, but should not expect from the Comm­ission to do the job of legislature,” a senior official of the ECP remarked.

According to him, the ECP is bound to follow the law and the law, as of today, provides for secret ballot. He noted that any hasty attempt to make the votes traceable would have been a violation of Article 226 of the Constitution, which can only be amended by the Parliament.

Punjab police chief assures poll body of making foolproof arrangements for Daska by-election

He regretted that the prime minister instead of taking notice of the uncalled for remarks made by members of his cabinet chose to himself join the blame game.

In a related development, the chief secretary and the inspector general of Punjab Police appeared before the ECP in person on Thursday and assured it about making foolproof arrangements for the upcoming by-polls in Daska.

Informed sources said the two officials regretted any negligence in performance of their duties last time.

The ECP on Feb 25 had voided the by-election in NA-75 (Daska) — which was marred by deadly clashes between workers of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the mysterious disappearance of around 20 presiding officers and suspected tampering with results — and ordered re-polling in the entire constituency on March 18.

The decision was announced by a five-member bench of the commission on a petition filed by the PML-N’s candidate in the constituency, Nousheen Iftikhar.

The ECP had withheld the results after the polling as presiding officers in the constituency had gone missing for over seven hours and top officials of the district administration and police were unavailable to help recover the allegedly abducted officers.

The short order read out by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said: “The arguments heard and record perused. From the perusal of available record produced by the parties, the Returning Officer, as well as collected by the commission through different sources, we have come to the conclusion that a conducive environment was not available for the candidates and voters of the constituency, and the election in the subject constituency has not been conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in a transparent manner; incidents of murders, firing and injuries, bad law and order situation in the subject constituency created harassment for voters and other circumstances, leading to make the process of results doubtful/unascertainable.”

The Commission had also ordered the chief secretary and the IGP Punjab to appear before it in person on March 4.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2021

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