ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the chief election commissioner (CEC) came under fire in the Senate as the row over PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry’s arrest reverberated in the house on Thursday.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Dr Shahzad Wasim noted that Mr Chaudhry had passed remarks about the conduct of the ECP and had not broken the law. “But it seems it broke the ECP’s heart.”

Dr Wasim said it was the job of the ECP to be ready to hold elections on time, be these in 90 days or 60 days, but the ECP did not appear to be ready when the time came for polls.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Mr Chaudhry had been a member of his cabinet and the minister concerned should respond to the issue of his arrest.

He said the caretaker set-up and the office of CEC were constitutional positions and there should be no criticism against them.

Senator Dost Muha­mmad said the PTI leader had been punished for calling the CEC a munshi (clerk) and munshi was a better word for an individual who deserved to be called a peon.

Another PML-N lawmaker Irfan Siddiqui said that despite having political differences with Mr Chaudhry, it was appalling to see the PTI leader being brought to a court handcuffed and his face covered with a sheet like a terrorist.

PPP Senator Farooq H. Naek sought a ruling from the chairman on who could use the country’s flag on his vehicle from among federal ministers, ministers of state and advisers and special assistants to the PM.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023

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