Minister of state for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb, talking to media persons here Wednesday after attending the ECP hearing about horse-trading in the Senate elections, said that it was the constitutional obligation of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold a probe into the matter.
She said that Article 218(3) of the Constitution mandated the ECP to conduct elections that were free, fair and devoid of corrupt practices and Article 220 conferred wide powers on the ECP to seek assistance from all executive authorities for discharge of its obligations, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies. She said that clause 219(5) of the Election Act also reflected similar obligations of the ECP.
Marriyum said that Senate election is an indirect election and when a political party of candidate gets votes disproportionate to its representation in the respective electorate (Provincial Assemblies etc) there is a natural inference to be drawn that members have voted against party policy due to illegal consideration, especially of such party members who have not defected from the party. This is what happened in the Senate elections, she added.
In view of the voting formula and stated party positions, the ECP must place onus on the winning candidates to establish how they won the votes of members of other parties to secure seats, the minister emphasised.
She said that the ECP should further require law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct inquiries regarding use of money/Illegal consideration in the election. It had the mandate under Article 220 to do so and it must do so in discharge of its obligations under Article 218(3), she reiterated. Marriyum said that it was the demand of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that the ECP should hold a probe into the horse-trading done during the Senate elections and those.—APP