PTI’s politics of confrontation

After legal community and media comes the ECP’s turn

There is a perception that the PTI leadership tends to act like a spoilt child who curses, kicks and tries to break any object that doesn’t work according to his or her wishes. The way federal ministers Azam Swati and Fawad Choudhry reacted to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s stand on Electronic Voting Machines was highly objectionable, leading ECP officials to leave a parliamentary committee’s meeting in protest. Mr Swati accused the ECP of taking bribes to “always” rig polls and said such institutions should be “set on fire”. Later in the day Mr Choudhry hinted at the CEC having sympathies for former PM Nawaz Sharif and the ECP of acting as a mouthpiece for the opposition.

The PTI has all along desired that the ECP support whatever it wants. It angered Prime Minister Imran Khan when the CEC opposed the use of open ballots in the Senate elections. The PTI leadership was unhappy when the ECP enquiry exposed manipulation by officials to get the PTI candidate in Daska elected fraudulently. Hell broke loose however when the ECP raised 37 solid objections to the introduction of EVMs that the PTI thinks can alone bring it success in the next elections.

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What has led the PTI leadership to confront a constitutional institution with the type of ammunition that it used against its political opponents when it was in opposition? Why does it think that it can browbeat the ECP by recourse to innuendo, false allegations and threats of violence? The PTI was however badly mistaken if It thought it could turn the ECP into a docile body through these methods.

The ECP has rejected the allegations against itself and its chief. It has also decided to seek record from PEMRA as well as all the material regarding the standing committee remarks and the press conference to be presented before it. The ECP is authorized like a High Court to take cognizance of contempt and take action against the contemners. The best way for both the ministers would be to unconditionally apologise to the ECP and learn to behave with constitutional bodies. The PM has to realise that those who have persuaded the government to confront the legal community, the media persons and now the ECP, are creating problems instead of facilitating the government.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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