Govt asks CEC, members to step down

Ijaz Kakakhel

Pakistan Tehreek Insaf led federal government on Monday asked the Chief Election Commission of Pakistan and its members to resign as people could not trust on it.

The current top management of the ECP failed to fulfill its responsibilities of conducting free and fair election on different occasions.

“We do not trust the Election Commission and the Chief Election Commissioner and members should step down from their posts,” said Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, who was flanked by Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Fawad Chaudhry during a press conference.

Mr Mahmood said that the ECP could not function in the current situation as the national institution was not playing the role of a neutral empire.

He also clarified that the government has no intention of sending a reference against the CEC.

The minister said that resignation was a democratic way, adding that an ECP should be formed on which everyone has confidence.

He said general elections will be held two and a half years later and the time has come for people not to raise any question when there is an election.

He went on to say that the government was giving best suggestions for the country and democracy, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had introduced neutral empire in cricket but it was unfortunate that our proposals regarding elections have been rejected.

The education minister said that the Election Commission of Pakistan to be reconstituted as it holds the Commission responsible for failing to hold the recently-held Senate elections in a transparent manner.

“It was a longstanding demand of the prime minister that the power of money should not be used to influence elections,” he maintained.

“For this purpose, the premier wanted the Senate elections to be held via an open ballot.” Mehmood said it is the sole responsibility of the ECP to ensure that transparent polls are held.

He said that the government had told the ECP to implement a system wherein it would not be possible for corrupt practices to take place.

Mehmood said the ECP instead failed to uphold its mandate and deliver on its responsibility.

The minister thereafter called on the Election Commission to be reconstituted, alleging that it had failed to meet the standards required of it.

“To ensure transparent elections are held is the responsibility of the Election Commission. This responsibility was not fulfilled,” he said.

Mehmood said the PTI was the largest political party in the country and it did not have confidence in the ECP. “If you ask other parties, even they don’t have confidence in the ECP after the recently held elections,” he said.

“The ECP’s officials should therefore collectively resign and a new commission should be formed which enjoys the trust of all parties.”

Mehmood noted that no political party in Pakistan is happy with the results of the Senate elections, adding that whatever transpired during the recently-held polls is a result of the ECP’s ‘failure’.

Tensions between the government and the ECP rose to fever pitch after the PTI lost the important Senate election for the Islamabad General seat when former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani defeated Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh despite not having sufficient numbers in his camp.

In his address to the nation following the election, PM Imran Khan had lashed out at the ECP and accused it of allowing horse-trading to take place.

The commission had hit back at the government a day later, saying that it has “never come under any sort of pressure and God willing, will not in the future as well”.

“We cannot ignore the law and the Constitution to please anyone,” the ECP had said.

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