ECP issues notice to information, railways ministers in reaction to allegations

The top electoral body of the country has sent notices to Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and Federal Minister for Railways Azam Swati after they had levelled allegations against the institution, Geo News said Thursday.

Earlier this week, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry alleged that the Election Commission of Pakistan has “become the headquarters for opposition parties”, further accused the chief election commissioner of “acting as their mouthpiece”.

Now, the ECP has sought explanations from both the ministers for accusing Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and the commission, it emerged.

The development comes two days after the ECP had decided to issue notices to the information and railways ministers.

CEC Raja on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the ECP where the matter of allegations levelled by the federal ministers was discussed.

ECP members Nisar Durrani, Shah Muhammad Jatoi, and other officials of the commission attended the meeting.

The members condemned the allegations “in the strongest possible terms” and rejected them.

The commission had decided to seek proof backing the accusations by Swati, which were levelled during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee for Parliamentary Affairs and another held the night prior at the President House, and those by Chaudhry which were levelled during a press conference.

The meeting decided to issue legal notices to both the ministers.

The information minister, in reaction to the ECP’s announcement, said that he will give a “detailed response” when gets the notice.

He wrote on Twitter: “With all due respect for the ECP, if you do not wish to discuss political ongoings, then your conduct should be free of politics.”

He went on to state that the ECP, as an institution, has an “incontestable” standing but personalities associated with the body are “not above mistakes” and all criticism is always directed towards individuals and not the institution itself.

Earlier, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi on Thursday demanded an unconditional apology from Election Commissioner East Amin Bashir.

Sharing the notice he sent to the Election Commissioner Karachi East Zone, Amir Bashir, Ali Zaidi has asked for an unconditional apology over the matter of his expulsion from the NA-244 Karachi East-III constituency on the day of Cantonment boards elections.

The minister said that he went to the constituency only to cast his vote. The minister said he will be left with no choice to take legal action if Bashir Amin fail to tender an unconditional apology.

Ali Zaidi had also previously challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan that he will resign if it proves he visited any polling station other than where he had cast his vote.

“Challenge the ECP to show me one polling station that I visited today, except the one where I cast my vote and I will resign as Federal Minister and even as MNA,” Zaidi wrote on Twitter.

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