Pressure on the CEC

The threat to send a reference against the CEC is a logical culmination. Or is it?

PTI chief Imran Khan has threatened to send a reference to the Supreme Judicial Council for his removal. While at one level, it is upping the ante in his campaign against the Chief Election Commissioner, it is perhaps the only logical outcome of a campaign against Mr Sikander Sultan Raja which began even while he held office, as a spate of bye-elections in Punjab showed that the Election Commission was not ready to wink at official attempts to influence the results. It seems that even the recent Punjab by-elections, which the PTI won handily, and which enabled it to have its nominee Ch Pervaiz Elahi elected Punjab CM, have not mollified Mr Khan, who not only wants fresh elections, but some other CEC. Does Mr Khan assume that some favourable decisions by the Supreme Court, most noticeable in the Punjab Assembly case, means that he can get the Supreme Judicial Council to agree with him, and get the CEC removed.

Perhaps some of Mr Khan’s rage has to do with the foreign funding case before the Election Commission, with the hearings of the case complete, after all the delays demanded by the PTI, and now only the decision to be announced, after it had been reserved at the conclusion of arguments. Not only has the PDM been vociferously demanding an announcement, but the recent report in a British newspaper about how Artif Naqvi, the Abraaj Group founder, used one of his companies to send the PTI money from abroad, has increased the pressure to announce the verdict. Mr Khan did not give the newspaper his comments despite being asked, so this pressure on the CEC is possibly his way of pressuring the CEC not to be stampeded into announcing a verdict anytime soon.

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Why does Mr Khan feel the need to go after the CEC in this way? Not just because he does not want him to preside as the coming election, but because he fears the foreign funding case verdict. Not only does he fear that it will find the PTI guilty of obtaining money from Israel and India, among other foreign sources. It might even oust not just the PTI, but Mr Khan himself, from electoral politics. It is to be expected that the CEC and the rest of the Commission will not be deflected by any threats, particularly those lying in an indeterminate future, rom doing justice expeditiously, which includes ensuring that political entities obey the law.

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


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