ECP postpones meeting with political parties

SC’s likely decision on speaker’s ruling in contempt case is the reason, sources say.

Qamar Zaman June 19, 2012

ISLAMABAD: In light of the Supreme Court’s likely decision regarding the National Assembly speaker’s ruling over the premier’s disqualification, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday postponed its consultative meeting with political parties.

The announcement came a day ahead of the proposed meeting (earlier scheduled for June 20) for a “brainstorming” session with political parties for the formulation over a new code of conduct.

Though pressing engagements have been cited for the postponement, insiders hinted at the upcoming decision of the apex court on the speaker’s ruling against disqualification of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as one of the reasons.

Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had challenged the speaker’s ruling and demanded prime minister’s disqualification after he was convicted of contempt.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the decision could have been taken by the competent authority keeping in view the role of the ECP in case the commission is asked to proceed with the matter.

Justice Shakirullah Jan, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, is officiating as the acting chief election commissioner (CEC) after the retirement of Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza.

“The ECP due to some other important occupations and unavoidable circumstances, has postponed the political parties’ consultative meeting scheduled on June 20, 2012 regarding Codes of Conduct for Political Parties & Candidates, Media, Polling Personnel, Election Observers and Security Personnel,” said the statement.

The meeting will now be conducted in mid July and a fresh date will be communicated accordingly, the statement added.

Earlier, the meeting was convened as per directions of the Supreme Court to ensure strict implementation of election laws and to bring amendments in the existing ones.

In this regard, leadership of 15 leading political parties had been invited for the consultation. The political parties have been asked to come up with their own proposals in the meeting while the commission will share with them the draft of its proposed code of conduct.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.


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