The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday ordered the removal of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Establishment Ahad Cheema from his post.

The commission issued the directives while hearing a petition seeking the removal of Cheema, Privatisation and Inter-provincial Coordination Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Tauqeer Hussain Shah from their posts.

The petition filed by Advocate Syed Azizud Din Kaka Khel in October had said the transparency of elections was not possible due to these individuals being part of the caretaker government.

“If the government wants a transparent election, these people should be removed from their positions,” the petition said.

In the short order issued today, the ECP said that the petitioner’s prayer for Cheema to be removed was “reasonable and is accepted” on the basis that the latter was a part of the previous government and could thus “influence the holding of free, fair and transparent elections” if he continued in his post.

The ECP directed that Cheema be removed from his position and ordered the Cabinet Division secretary to immediately issue the notification in this regard.

The interim cabinet has many ministers known for their close association with the PML-N. They include Cheema, Sami Saeed, Umar Saif, Shahid Ashraf Tarar and Jahanzaib Khan.

Cheema had also served as a special assistant in the previous PML-N-led government. He was perhaps the only exception who was part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government and also interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s cabinet member.

In September, the ECP had advised the interim government to refrain from inducting “persons of known political allegiance” in a letter to the caretaker prime minister’s secretary.

However, PM Kakar in October had dispelled the impression of the caretakers being a ‘B’ team of the PML-N and said it was unfair to link cabinet members Fawad and Cheema with the PML-N as both were seasoned bureaucrats who had served the state instead of any political party.

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