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Sharifs’ security cover be trimmed: ECP


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PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. — Photo by AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has moved to seek withdrawal of extraordinary official security cover being provided to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif.

A senior ECP official told Dawn that a letter was being written to the provincial government to withdraw all security measures that exceeded the protocol allowed to the Sharif brothers in their capacity as former prime minister and chief minister.

It was brought to the notice of ECP that more than 750 personnel of law-enforcement agencies were currently deployed to provide security to the Sharif brothers.

In another important development, the ECP asked the government to replace the Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary of Establishment Division, the ECP sought removal of Akbar Hoti, whose six cousins were contesting the May 11 general elections for national and provincial assembly seats.

“May I refer to the telephonic conversation on April 11 of the Secretary of Election Commission with you regarding replacement of Inspector General (Police) of KP on the ground that six of his cousins are contesting general elections.

“The list of his relatives is also faxed to you. In this backdrop, I have been directed to request you to kindly issue necessary directions for immediate replacement of the Inspector General (Police) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a suitable person of established neutrality,” reads a letter signed by the Director General (Elections) of ECP, Mr Sher Afgan, and addressed to the Secretary of Establishment Division.

Former law minister S.M. Zafar said that the ECP had no power to make appointments.

“This is the difference between our Election Commission and the Indian Election Commission, but the Indian EC has power to do so,” he said. “They [the ECP officials] are going beyond their jurisdiction. No rules allow them [to do so],” said Dr Khalid Ranjha.

The ECP, in a reforms package, had sought powers to make transfers and postings to ensure fair and free elections.

A parliamentary committee comprising members of Senate and the last National Assembly had rejected the package.

However, a senior ECP official said that under Article 218 of the constitution, the ECP had powers to take all measures to ensure fair and free general elections.

POSTAL BALLOTS: The ECP extended the date for filing applications for postal ballots till April 25, according to a press statement. The commission asked prisoners as well as government employees, including members of armed forces, who are also entitled to exercise their right of vote, to send their votes through postal ballots and send applications to respective returning officers within the extended date to avail the facility of postal ballots.

Comments (9) Closed

pakiboy Apr 13, 2013 01:40am
why he has official security anyway ? .. how many candidates have security ? ..
Syed Apr 13, 2013 02:19am
ECP has proved to be a sham. Pakistan will never change.
Husain Jan Apr 13, 2013 04:26am
Sharif's extra security ordered to be removed. OK fine. But why the Sharifs were using this at the expense of tax payers is a big question. Why should they (the Sharifs) be not asked to explain this illegal and unethical act ? They are rich enough to hire personal security of thousands of guards so why keep govt security personnel occupied with them. Will they be considerate enough to answer to this question ? Not likely at all.
Charlie Chaplen Apr 13, 2013 05:31am
while in power they had 1200+ police dedicated to their family security and still keeping 750 + official cars ? as long as leeches like these are attached to pakistan, Pakistan has NO future.
Mohammad Farooq Apr 13, 2013 05:32am
Its about time.
Hassan Raza Apr 13, 2013 06:12am
Way to go ECp
Shafiq Khan Apr 13, 2013 10:49am
It is the duty of the state to insure the safety of its citizens. If the risk is greater the security should be greater.Why you have a problem with it? Did you feel disturbed about the security of the retired Gen. when he came back to the country? Your facts are disputable. Give us the source of your information.If not where is the proof of what you state? All candidates deserve protection against the threats. The democracy can not function with the security of person and property of the candidates. How many are there to protect Mr. Zardari, since you have all the facts at your finger tips let us know that as well. Shafiq
khan Apr 13, 2013 01:59pm
This is sad as he is the top politician and last hope of the pakistanies. if something happen to him than the ECP will be held blamed for the same.
kirther Apr 13, 2013 04:53pm
First of all Sharif brothers and their family should be made accountable for their ill gotten wealth. How were their nomination papers accepted by ECP without obtaining realistic, accurate and justifiable details which can support their living style since becoming Chief Minister of Punjab, and what about recent court ruling in Asghar Khan case.