Bilawal blasts govt for ‘blackmailing’ ECP, CEC

Attempts to compel poll authority to toe PTI’s electoral fraud strategies have to be condemned, says PPP chairman


Rizwan Shehzad   March 17, 2021
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. PHOTO: COURTESY/PPP.ORG

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has strongly condemned the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s continuous attacks on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), saying demand of resignations from poll organising officials is “blackmailing”.

The PPP leader, in a statement, said that the ECP’s refusal to become a partner in the rigging and electoral engineering with the PTI is being taken as "rebellion".

“The demand of resignations from the chief election commissioner and members of the ECP are blackmailing tactics on the part of the PTI government,” Bilawal said while accusing the PTI of accumulating millions of dollars through foreign funding as a dubious political party to grab power.

Bilawal also said that the election authority has to conduct its business in accordance with the Constitution and the relevant laws. “Threats to the ECP to compel it to toe PTI’s electoral fraud strategies have to be condemned in strong terms. Entire, nation and its Constitution stand by the ECP as the national institution.”

Also read: PM seeks multi-party parliamentary committee to review electoral reforms

Ha went on to say that an independent election commission is necessary for a vibrant and genuine democracy and warned that any attempts to subjugate and hold the ECP hostage to the whims of the PTI regime would be vehemently resisted by all the democratic forces.

Bilawal’s remarks came after the PTI government demanded resignation from ECP officials – chief election commissioner and four provincial members – while accusing the poll supervisors of their “complete failure” in holding transparent Senate elections and hence losing the government’s trust.

Friction between the government and the ECP surfaced when the latter insisted in the Supreme Court that the Senate election should be held through secret ballot, taking an opposing stance to the government’s efforts to hold the election through open ballot.

Later, the election was held through secret balloting on March 3. In the election, PTI’s Hafeez Sheikh lost to Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) Yousuf Raza Gilani on general seat of Islamabad. Also, the PTI is not happy with the ECP following re-polls order in Daska.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan has reached out to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, asking for a multi-party parliamentary committee to review the election reforms bill tabled by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government in October 2020.

The current corruption ridden system has been exposed so badly in the recent Senate elections needs urgent change, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, while sharing the premier’s letter addressed to the NA speaker, said in a tweet on Wednesday.

 

On Monday, three federal ministers addressed a joint news conference in the federal capital, demanding resignation from the ECP and the setting up of a new election organising authority that could be trusted by everyone.

The following day, the government had also announced to initiate contempt proceedings against the ECP if it did not tender resignations. Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had said that consultations were held with the attorney general for Pakistan.

The federal minister said that the government could initiate the contempt of court proceedings against the ECP officials if they did not step down, adding the government will use all available options on that count.

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