Why PTI ministers launched scathing attack against Election commission of Pakistan?

 The ministers accused ECP for taking bribes and siding with opposition to rig the elections

Two federal ministers and one advisor launched scathing against the Election Commission of Pakistan for resisting the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines for 2023 general elections. Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati and Babar Awan accused the ECP of taking side with the opposition parties and taking bribes to rig elections. They also accused that ECP has become mouthpiece of opposition parties.

This attack came after the Senate Committee rejected the key amendments proposed by the PTI government in Election act 2017 including the use of EVMs and I voting for Oversees Pakistanis.

The ECP is opposing the government’s proposal to use EVMs in 2023 general Elections. The ECP has made its objections public which PTI government sees as an attempt to undermine its authority. PTI claims that it not only respect the constitutional institutions but wants to strengthen them. But It is trying to undermine the ECP which is a constitutional institution. PTI government is trying to bring ECP under pressure to follow its dictates. 

What the ministers are saying about Chief Election Commissioner is an attempt to put pressure on the ECP to fall in line with government on EVMs and gives up its opposition. PTI government's desperation on EVMs is creating more doubts about the real motives behind this plan. The opposition has already declared the EVMs as a rigging plan. 

The strange thing is that instead of building consensus and engaging the opposition parties, the government is trying to bulldoze the whole process.     

The relationship between ECP and PTI government strained since the ECP ordered re-polling in the NA-75 Daska constituency on the charges of irregularities and rigging.  And subsequently PTI lost the by-elections elections.

The issue of open ballot in Senate elections further strained the relations between PTI government and ECP. PTI government sent a reference in this regard to Supreme Court but ECP oppose the open ballot. On both occasions, PTI government was not happy with the ECP.  

The government seems desperate to use EVMs in the next general elections.  The government seems in haste. The ECP is opposing use of  EVMs in hurry. The both sides once again seems on collision course. 

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati and Babar Awan mounted a blistering attack on the Election Commission in a hurriedly called news conference.

Ministers accused the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja of acting as a mouthpiece for the small opposition parties. He emphasized that the PTI had the largest vote bank and if it did not have trust in the chief election commissioner, then how it could hold the elections.

Fawad Chaudhry said that “we request him to review his conduct and desist from becoming the mouthpiece of small opposition parties,” he remarked. The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan's government was the first which took up the task to make elections fair and transparent and gave recommendations for electoral reforms and took them to the parliament.

He claimed that no political stakeholder was satisfied with the current electoral system and said the opposition would allege rigging wherever they lost. He continued that the solution lay in the country's political leadership sitting together and deciding appropriate electoral process.

The minister contended that ‘the logic of ECP is strange; they say the parliament does not have the right to tell them what the system will be, even though the Constitution clearly states that the elections will be held in accordance with the law’. You (ECP) would not make the law, as the authority to legislate exclusively belongs to the parliament’.

The minister charged that not the entire ECP that was opposed to the government's proposals but the chief election commissioner was more interested in acting as a mouthpiece of the opposition.

He then turned his guns to the opposition and said unfortunately the opposition was made up of mental dwarfs and was unable to think beyond its cases. “These are small people and so is their thinking. No good can be expected from them; all the leadership of the opposition has only one skill — how to make history in cases. They do not understand that if the parliament is strong, then the people of the country will be strong,” he said.

“When it comes to reforms anywhere, the opposition leaves it behind and falls behind the deal. They are exposing each other themselves. Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Bilawal and then both together are listening to N-League; these are small people, their thinking is small. From them goodness cannot be expected,” he added.

He said the structure of the Election Commission was based on politics and people did not trust the Election Commission.

In the 2018 elections, the people expressed confidence in Imran Khan and he became the Prime Minister. “Our manifesto included that we would make the Election Commission free, fair and transparent. The PTI is the only party that has held free and fair elections while in government. We invited the opposition to come and sit with us and talk about electoral reforms,” he noted.

The minister said, “We want to use technology in the election process. The issue of Senate elections went to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Supreme Court asked to use technology to bring transparency in the elections”.

He said Article 218 of the Constitution stated that elections will be held under the law and the power to make laws lay with the parliament adding that no country will allow the dignity of its parliament to be tarnished because the real voice of the people came from the parliament.

“People sitting in parliament decide what kind of system they want to adopt. No one has the right to ignore the parliament. If the Election Commission has any objection to technology, or if they want to improve something, they should tell the parliament,” he said.

Fawad said if the chief election commissioner wanted to take part in politics, a right, which the law gives him, he should then leave the Election Commission and become a candidate himself, come to Parliament and play his role.

The minister said the CEC might have personal sympathies for the PML-N supremo and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif due to his close connections with the latter, saying the government had no problems with the same.

                                                             Khalid Bhatti 

No comments

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Powered by Blogger.