ECP will always make decisions ‘fearlessly’, vows CEC

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Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja on Wednesday said that the Election Commission of Pakistan is “always ready for elections” as he stressed it will continue to make decisions without fear.

“The election commission makes its decisions fearlessly and it will continue to do so. If anyone is displeased by or disagrees with the decisions, it’s their problem,” he said during an informal talk with reporters following the administration of oath to two new members of the ECP. He was asked to respond to allegations of bias against the electoral watchdog.

The CEC said that “everyone is our friend” and the ECP makes decisions according to the law and Constitution.

The PTI has accused Raja and the election commission of bias, with former prime minister Imran Khan frequently calling on him to resign. On May 11, the party announced plans to file a reference against Raja, with Fawad Chaudhry saying the “biggest political party had lost trust in him”. In his conversation with reporters, the CEC was asked about general elections, to which he replied the ECP is “always ready for the elections” and it is the government that has to decide about new polls. “The ECP’s job is to hold transparent and fair elections,” he said, adding that work on the delimitation of constituencies is being carried out swiftly.

He added that the final delimitation is not possible before the issuance of census results officially.

“The ECP has a clear stance on the census,” he said, adding that the results of the 2017 census were released in May 2021 and the demarcation of boundaries for constituencies was started after that.

The CEC recalled that a constitutional amendment was introduced with regard to delimitation and elections in 2018.

“The government now wants a digital census and delimitation can be completed on time if its results are released by December 2022,” he said. “If the results are delayed, the election will be held on the basis of the 2017 census.”