Supreme Court would lay down guidelines regarding future elections
THE Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the verdict of the Election Commission of Pakistan about the re-poll in NA 75 Daska in the entire Daska constituency. After this decision, no one will ever dare plan rigging to hijack any election.
With the decision of the Supreme Court, the election is expected to be held as per the earlier decision ie 10 April.
Soon after the apex court pronounced the order, Chief Election Commissioner, Sikandar Sultan Raja, issued orders that the Secretary, ECP, Dr Nazir Akhtar should rush to Lahore and finalise arrangements for holding the scheduled re-election after having consultations with concerned stakeholders.
The credibility of the Election Commission is most critical for strengthening the democratic process in the country.
At one time, unfortunately, the Federal Government was thinking to move the Supreme Court to initiate the contempt proceedings against the Chief Election Commissioner and members of ECP if they didn’t resign from their offices and the Attorney General was working on the advice of the Federal Government.
Such a futile campaign against the ECP, which has the same powers as the Supreme Court does have, will not only damage the government, but it will also harm the democratic process in the country and Article-5 and Article-204 may be kept in view along with Elections Act 2017 and its section 10 which empowers ECP to disqualify who comes under this purview.
The Supreme Court decision on the Daska election, which has gone in favour of the Opposition may be dulled by the impact of the PDM fracture.
The government now finds itself in a better position to take advantage of the split in the Opposition.
For this no one is to blame other than the leadership of the two opposition parties. They cut the branch they were sitting on and now they are paying the price for it.
For the guidance of the general public that the Feb 25 decision of the ECP was on the basis of grave irregularities committed on the February 19 polling day when the election process remained suspended in 13 polling stations and incidents of aerial firing occurred at different places.
In this scenario the Election Commission enjoyed the authority to annul the entire election process if different provisions of the Elections Act 2017 were violated.
The entire electoral process suffered a setback with the missing of 20 presiding officers, and when these officers surfaced they were looking sheepish.
—The writer is former Federal Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation.