Senate resounds with clamour for action against CEC

  • JI, PTI senators demand resignation of CEC; prosecution under Article 6

ISLAMABAD: The first Senate session following the February 8 general elections echoed with calls on Tuesday for legal action against the chief election commissioner and an investigation into the conduct of polls.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani chaired the session during which a motion to suspend the proceedings was presented and approved. The upper house then commenced a discussion on the recently held general elections.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmad demanded accountability and a treason case against CEC Sikander Sultan Raja and stated that action should be taken under Article 6 for violations and betrayal of the Constitution. He also emphasized the need for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the elections.

Ahmad said the rigging was exposed by the now-former commissioner of Rawalpindi and maintained that the recent polls have pushed the country towards a ‘severe’ economic and political crisis.

The JI senator further said the the ‘bullet overshadowed the ballot’ during the elections and reiterated his call for the CEC’s resignation. He also said a judicial commission should be formed for a transparent investigation and said “we did not achieve freedom from the British only have have some government servants sitting behind closed doors enslave us”.

‘Democracy in the country is still skewed’

Expressing his views in the Senate, Senator Bizinjo stated that the country has completed 75 years, yet democracy in the country is still skewed. He said tolerance for differences in the country is diminishing but no one is willing to learn from history.

“Whether one accepts it or not, mistakes are being repeated. Whatever elections take place under the supervision of supervisors, they remain contentious. This time, the elections are the most contentious.”

Bizinjo said that in Balochistan, the people’s legitimate representatives were defeated.

“Through the collaboration of two major parties, drug dealers and feudal lords were brought to the assemblies. Until the judiciary and the military do not do their respective jobs, the country will continue to be plagued by crises. Was it right for the judiciary to remove the PTI government? Will there be political and economic stability as a result of these rigged elections?”

He echoed Senator Ahmad’s demand for legal action and arrest of the chief election commissioner.

‘One party was targeted’

Senato Syed Ali Zafar, expressing his views on the elections, stated that one party was specifically targeted. “People were harassed, and leaders of the PTI were arrested. PTI was not allowed to hold a single gathering during the election campaign. The PTI was singled out so that the people would not vote for it.”

He added that “whatever happened in the elections, the people have made a clear decision. Whether one accepts it or not, the people have decided in favour of Imran Khan. The youth proved during the elections that they stand with hope. Fear and intimidation were spread among the people so that they would not come out on election day. PTI candidates were not allowed to run their election campaigns; they were arrested. A few days before the election, our electoral symbol was taken away from us”.

“When pre-poll rigging failed, post-poll rigging was witnessed. The losing candidates won by changing the votes. The people’s mandate was stolen. We need to look ahead, but it’s not that easy. Let the one who has received the people’s mandate come forward. Present a resolution today and ask the Election Commission to return the stolen mandate.”

‘People’s mandate stolen’

Senator Shafiq Tareen said that “the people’s mandate was stolen”.

“The government spent Rs50 billion of the public on the elections. The recent elections were pre-planned and the parties which are in majority should be allowed to form the government.”

‘Country has an unpleasant history of elections’

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui said that “our country has an unpleasant history of elections”.

“After the creation of Pakistan, we could not conduct elections for 23 years. The decision of the elections in 1970 was not accepted, leading to the division of the country. One election broke the country, and another gave us eleven years of martial law. It is worth noting that no one talks about 2018. In 2018, those who mocked our punishments should have thought twice. The results of the 2018 elections came four days later.”

Senator Siddiqui further said that we used to receive penalties from lower courts, and the Supreme Court used to give us justice. “The results of the general elections are as per the Gallup survey before the elections. When you can go to Maulana Fazlur Rehman, why not sit with democratic parties. If there are reservations about the elections, come to the Parliament, and play the role of the opposition.”

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