Election commission must devise a polling scheme: CJP

'Responsibility of the election commission to ensure transparency in the election,' Justice Ahsan says

The Supreme Court (SC) summoned the chief election commissioner (CEC) and other members of the election commission, wherein the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) pointed out that it is the responsibility of the commission to curb corrupt practices in the elections.

CJP Gulzar Ahmed, while presiding over a case regarding the presidential reference on the upcoming Senate elections along with a five-judge larger bench, asked the election commission to present a polling scheme to get rid of corrupt practices in the election of the upper house. He maintained that simply issuing the dates of the elections is not enough.

Referring to Article 218 (3) of the Constitution, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that if there is credible evidence, then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) may look into ballot papers and further asked the counsel, Sajeel Swati, whether the commission had disqualified any lawmaker who was involved in corrupt practices.

“It is the responsibility of the election commission to ensure transparency in the election,” Justice Ahsan said.

Similarly, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked whether the ECP is taking any action as now there is evidence of corrupt practices and a video has also surfaced.

“The mechanism to curb corruption exists in the election law,” the election commission’s lawyer said in reply. However, the chief justice pointed out that corrupt practices still exist.

Justice Yahya Afridi pointed out that the ECP monitors votes in general elections, and inquired why the same was not being done here.

“This vote has been given indemnity under Article 226,” the ECP lawyer argued. “The election commission could itself inquire into the matter,” Justice Ahsan replied.

The court summoned the CEC and members of the election commission tomorrow to present a scheme to curb corruption in the election.

A day earlier, Pakistan Democratice Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman made telephonic contact with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Therein, both the politicians had decided to cancel PDM’s rallies in Sargodha on February 23 in view of the country’s Senate election and the opposition’s long march. Both the politicians had also decided to cancel the February 27 protest in Khuzdar, Balochistan, to focus on Senate polls.

Sources had said that Fazl later directed all parties to expedite preparations for the long march. He said that all parties should expedite the preparations for the Senate elections and the long march.


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