A bad precedent

Using assemblies against constitutional bodies

PTI chief Imran Khan knows that Punjab will play a decisive role in coming elections. After getting a PTI government installed in the province he wants the party to act as a well-oiled machine during the polls. While in Lahore Mr Khan told Chief Minister Pervez Elahi to make big announcements regarding relief for rain-cum-flood victims. Former Povery Alleviation Minister Sania Nishter was told to restore and expeditiously work on the Ehsaas Programme in Punjab. Provincial party chief Dr Yasmeen Rashid was directed to organize party units all over the province within the next six to eight weeks when, according to Mr Khan elections are likely to be announced. All this was perfectly in order.

But the PTI chief also continues to be haunted by skeletons in his cupboard, particularly the foreign funding case. After the revelations about his nexus with Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi the matter has become more worrisome for him. Reportedly Mr Khan’s overtures to hold a secret meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja were rebuffed by the latter. A vilification campaign was launched against Mr Raja and the other Election Commission of Pakistan members after a delegation of PDM leaders called upon them. It was decided to use the KP and Punjab Assemblies against the ECP. A resolution passed the by Punjab Assembly called the aforementioned meeting “undeniable concrete evidence” and demanded that the current CEC and ECP members step down immediately. This, despite PTI leaders having met the CEC several times when the party was in power. Even a few days back, PTI senior vice president Shah Mahmud Qureshi had also called on the ECP. The resolution suggested, in clear contravention of the constitutional provisions, that all political parties may form an acceptable and uncontroversial Election Commission. This shows that what the proposers of the resolution really wanted was to malign and discredit the ECP so that any negative verdict in the foreign funding case could be explained away and rejected for being prejudiced.

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The name of the incumbent CEC was proposed for the office by Mr Khan himself. He wants him to be removed because of a fear that the ECP led by Mr Raja might decide against him in the foreign funding case. There is no guarantee that persons chosen for seats of authority will always favour those who recommended them. The sooner the politicians realize this, the better for them as well as the system.

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

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