Imran vs the CEC

Published July 20, 2022

IT was a perplexing victory speech and one which is bound to leave a bad taste. Despite the PTI upending the assessments of nearly every observer watching the Punjab by-polls with its unexpected sweep of 15 of the 20 seats up for grabs, party chairman Imran Khan continued to attack Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja a day later, accusing him of partiality and attempting to use the Election Commission of Pakistan to swing the results in favour of the PML-N.

One would have expected Mr Khan to have softened his tone, considering that no one was expecting his party to do so well, given how loudly the former prime minister had been claiming that the entire electoral system was rigged. Instead, election day results suggested that it was a fairer contest than most were expecting, with the ruling PML-N handed an embarrassing drubbing on its home turf and the PTI managing to run away with most of the seats despite the odds.

Read more: Khan’s warning to top officials, gives ‘traitor’ tag to CEC

Indeed, given the results, one would argue that the elections seemed quite free and fair and, barring a few incidents of violence, generally well conducted. Therefore, one would have expected the PTI to be a little more appreciative of the fact that it was ensured a level playing field and that its worst fears never materialised.

Yet, Mr Khan seemed unwilling to let go of his distrust of the CEC. The continuing acrimony does not make sense, considering that the latter seems more focused on quietly going about his constitutional duties and does not seem to be swayed by the relentless campaign against him. Because of the imbalance of power between them, the PTI chief’s constant criticism has now started to look like bullying to some observers. They believe that Mr Khan has been constantly attacking and undermining the CEC to pressurise him over the pending decision in the foreign funding case against the former’s party.

Read more: PM Shehbaz urges ECP to announce ‘long-delayed’ judgement in PTI prohibited funding case

That may or may not be true, but it is clear that Mr Khan needs to be more direct about why he does not trust Mr Raja and must provide sufficient evidence to substantiate his allegations against him. If the PTI chief wants the CEC gone, there is a political process involved. Haranguing the latter in public is certainly not the way to go about it. There have been recent reports that Mr Raja is worried about his security in light of the threats to his life. He does not deserve to be living in fear for simply doing the job that the Constitution has mandated him to do. Mr Khan should also consider how he would want to be involved in consultations for the next ECP chief, considering he himself has resigned from parliament and seems to have no inclination to sit down with his rivals on any matter, including this one.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Security concerns
23 Jul, 2024

Security concerns

All stakeholders want what is best for the country and its people; their differing approaches shouldn’t be viewed with such suspicion all the time.
Frankfurt vandalism
23 Jul, 2024

Frankfurt vandalism

THE state needs to seek serious answers from the German authorities regarding the July 20 mob attack targeting...
Stressed cotton economy
23 Jul, 2024

Stressed cotton economy

DECREASING cotton production should be a worry for the government because of its socioeconomic implications. Early...
Population calamity
Updated 22 Jul, 2024

Population calamity

Pakistan can also control its growth rate by following the examples of its peers and implementing functional family planning programmes and campaigns.
Blow to occupation
22 Jul, 2024

Blow to occupation

THE International Court of Justice has delivered a legal blow to the decades-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
Seeking Priya Kumari
22 Jul, 2024

Seeking Priya Kumari

PRIYA Kumari — the minor girl who vanished on Ashura in 2021 while serving water at a sabeel in Sukkur district ...