Ministers ask ECP to prove it was impartial in Senate polls

Mohammad Arshad

The government on Friday demanded of the Election Commission of Pakistan to demonstrate its impartiality in its conduct towards political cases.

This demand emerged after Election Commission’s response to Thursday’s insertions by thePrime Minister in his address to the nation about election commission’s role in 3rd March Senate election.

“Institutions demonstrate their impartiality with their action, not through press statements,” said Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry.

He opined that the release of a statement by a constitutional institution in response to the premier was inappropriate, and such an act will be criticised.

He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan has always spoken about the impartiality of institutions.

“The premier said that the ECP remained unable to ensure transparency in Senate’s elections,” the minister said, adding that, “It isn’t a matter to be ‘displeased’ about, rather one to be embarrassed about.”

“The independent status and impartiality of the commission should be evident on genuine grounds,” Fawad remarked.

He noted that the ECP in its statement has asked for evidence of rigging, whereas audio and video evidence already exists with it.

“In the video of Sindh minister Nasir Shah, the conversation about the exchange of Rs120 million was clear, while Maryam said in her speech that the ticket was sold.

Ali Musa Gilani’s video also came to the fore,” he remarked.

The minister said that the woman candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf received votes as per the proportion of the party’s seats, while Hafeez Shaikh did not.

“Winning one election and losing the another is itself evidence of rigging,” he claimed.

Fawad said that ECP doesn’t even seem to care about the Supreme Court’s directions.

“I hope that the ECP will review its stance as doing so is in the interest of the country.

The government supports the commission [in doing so].”

Speaking on the occasion, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said, “[Pakistan] People’s Party and PML-N turned our culture into a culture of money-making.”

“Corruption and use of money [for vested gains] were then spread in the entirety of the society,” he said, adding that the two parties damaged Pakistan’s ethical and moral standards.

Shibli Faraz said that the PTI and the prime minister “immensely respect all of Pakistan’s institutions”, including the ECP.

He added, however, that “institutions show their neutrality and freedom through their actions, not press releases”.