LAHORE: The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday urged the national institutions, lawyers and civil society to defend the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the face of threats from a federal minister.

“If the institutions, be it the ECP, judiciary or any other, want to function under the constitution and independently then it is the duty of the political parties, civil society and lawyers to raise their voice against the government’s threats to them and defend them,” PML-N leader Khwaja Saad Rafique told a presser here on Saturday.

“If for the first time the ECP has taken the right stand, it should be fully supported,” he said, adding that ministers were now going after the ECP after targeting judges.

The PML-N leader also claimed that if the Imran Khan government tried to pass the election reforms bill through a joint session of parliament, no one in the country would accept it. “A law aimed at rigging the next elections will only be dirty and tainted, as no one in the country will accept it,” he exclaimed.

He also remarked that the government did not have a majority in the parliament. “It will be called a fake legislation,” he said and urged the national institutions to take notice of this.

The former minister also condemned Railways Minister Azam Swati for accusing the ECP of receiving bribes and rigging polls and threatening to set such institutions ablaze.

During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by PPP Senator Taj Haider and called to discuss the proposed amendments to the Elections Act on Friday, Mr Swati had said institutions like the ECP should be “set on fire”, alleging that it (ECP) took bribes to rig polls.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2021

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