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ECP Rubbishes Allegations of ‘Biased’ Decisions

Electoral body commences hearings into reference against dissident PTI MNAs, saying it will wrap up the case within 30 days

by Staff Report


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dismissed ousted prime minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s allegations that its decisions are “biased,” and slammed the “premeditated attempt to malign [it].”

“The Election Commission is a constitutional body,” read a statement issued by the autonomous body, which stopped short of naming the PTI but referred to several allegations voiced by its leadership in recent weeks. “[It] takes all decisions in light of the Constitution and the law,” it said, adding “certain elements” are “deliberately” trying to create an impression that the forum’s decisions are taken unilaterally, which is “wrong and contrary to facts.”

Stressing that all decisions announced by the ECP since January 2020—whether it had its full membership of five or the current three—had been taken by consensus, the forum noted that there had not been a single dissenting on any ruling. “There is complete harmony between the chief election commissioner (CEC) and the commission’s members,” it added.

“The ECP shall continue to take decisions in the best interests of the country, under the Constitution and in accordance with the oath, without any pressure,” it added.

The PTI, especially chairman Imran Khan, have repeatedly accused CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja of being an “agent” of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and demanded he resign from the post. “The PTI doesn’t have confidence in the chief election commissioner. When the country’s biggest party doesn’t have confidence in CEC, he must resign,” he alleged during a speech in Peshawar earlier this week.

Khan has also suggested that the ECP is preparing to rule against the PTI in the foreign funding case—potentially exposing the reasons behind the party’s current campaign against the CEC and the forum. Pending since 2014, the foreign funding case is nearing a conclusion, with observers warning that the available evidence suggests the party could face stiff penalties for its alleged financial malfeasance.

Dissident MNAs

Separately, CEC Raja said that the ECP would finish the case against the PTI’s dissident MNAs within 30 days. Hearing the reference for the disqualification of 20 MNAs under Article 63(A) as part of a three-member bench, he said that the forum would individually interview each dissident before rendering its judgment.

The counsel for dissident MNA Noor Alam Khan informed the ECP that his client had neither resigned from the PTI, nor had he joined another political party at the time of the no-confidence motion. He also sought to question the incomplete membership of the ECP, claiming the body had—in 2015—ruled that a case of disqualification would not be heard without a complete commission. The lawyer representing the PTI objected to this, prompting the dissident MNA’s lawyer to note that the precedent he was referring to specifically mentioned disqualification and not any other cases.

“The reason for this commission being incomplete is that political leaders do not communicate with one another,” said Alam’s lawyer, referring to the ousted PTI-led government refusing to meet with opposition leaders to finalize new candidates for the ECP after its previous members had retired.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the CEC reserved the verdict on the plea to not hear the references without full membership and said National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf should submit his reply. “The commission holds a fair hearing. The speaker can take a copy of the reference and submit his response on May 6. We will wrap up the case in 30 days,” he said, as he adjourned the session.

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