Stay on your constitutional course, SC reminds ECP | Pakistan Today

Stay on your constitutional course, SC reminds ECP

Hearing a case pertaining to existence of 27 million bogus votes in the electoral rolls, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), being a constitutional body, was bound to follow the constitution and the law and no departure from its mandatory provisions could be allowed for a reason not acceptable to the law and the constitution.
Heading a bench comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, the chief justice allowed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to collect all relevant documents, commencing from 2007 until now in respect of various stages during the course whereof steps were taken to complete the process of completion of transparent electoral lists.
The petitions for removal of 27 million bogus votes and making the electoral rolls transparent were filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan, late Benazir Bhutto and Barrister Zafarullah Kahn, making the ECP as respondent.
In compliance with the court’s February 29, 2012 orders that why transparent electoral rolls were not prepared by February 23, 2012 in accordance with the court’s orders, the ECP members and the secretary, on his own behalf and on behalf of the chief election commissioner (CEC), filed their replies. The ECP members stated that for the first time on December 20, 2011, they were made aware of the court’s July 4, 2011 orders. Before December 20, 2011, they said they were unaware either of the court’s July 4, 2011 orders or the project plan signed between ECP and NADRA about revising and making the electoral rolls transparent.
The reply filed by ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan on his own and CEC’s behalf said time was extended (without court’s permission) on account of resolutions passed by Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies as well as in view of the report of the Sindh election commissioner on account of floods.
The court noted that the documents available on record indicated that the requests for extension of time for preparation of electoral rolls were made in August, September and October, 2011, respectively. The court wondered how much time was required for completing the process of preparation of fresh electoral rolls in view of the stand taken by the ECP. The court noted that in fact the process of preparation of fresh or revised electoral lists ought to have commenced in 2007, when a constitution petition was filed by late Benazir Bhutto.

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