Why not limit campaign spending, SC asks political parties…again

Hearing a plea seeking direction to the Election Commission of Pakistan to fix a specific amount of expenditure to be made by political parties during election campaigns so that ordinary citizens could also contest the election, the Supreme Court on Tuesday re-issued notices to 26 political parties directing them to submit their concise statements over the matter by February 29.
A three-member bench of Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Tariq Parvez was hearing petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Workers’ Party against existence of polluted electoral rolls and seeking election reforms.
Abid Hasan Monto, counsel for Workers’ Party, had made 26 political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, PML-Quaid, PTI, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Awami National Party, respondents in the petition.
He requested the court to direct the ECP to take tangible measure for fair and free polls in the country.
During the hearing, the court observed that a system should be devised so that an ordinary person could also contest the election, as it was impossible in the present system.
During the hearing, leaders of some political parties were present in the court.
Haji Adeel of the ANP said he would raise the issue in the central committee of the party, which would decide on it, but some time was needed. Jamaat-e-Islami Central Secretary Parliamentary Affairs Saifullah Gondal said he had received the notice yesterday (Monday), thus he could not prepare a reply.
He also sought time to file a reply.
The bench, therefore, again issued notices to all parties and directed them to file their reply before the next date of hearing.
An officer of the Election Commission of Pakistan told the court that the joint secretary was busy in a meeting, thus he could not turn up.
Justice Tariq Parvez expressed annoyance, saying “It was a mockery of the court as instead of appearing before the court, the joint secretary was busy in meetings.”
Regarding 28 parliamentarians elected in by-polls when the ECP was incomplete per the 18th Amendment, the court observed that as the matter of the 20thAmendment was under-process, it would decide the case after receiving the final gazette on February 29, 2012.
Naseer Bhutta appeared on behalf of some candidates who were declared successful when the Election Commission was incomplete. He said both Houses of parliament had passed the 20th Amendment and now it would be sent to the president for signature. After the president’s approval it would become law.
The court later adjourned proceedings until February 29.



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