Countering pre-poll rigging: ECP freezes recruitments, bans diversion of funds

Takes decision after taking note of PM’s swelling discretionary fund.

Our Correspondent January 21, 2013
A few weeks back, the commission had slapped a ban on all advertisements from the national kitty for electioneering by federal and provincial governments.


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finally woken up to what can be construed as “pre-poll rigging” by the government. The commission slapped a ban on Monday on recruitments in government departments except through the federal or provincial public service commissions.

The move follows scathing media criticism of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government’s move to launch massive recruitments in different departments a few months before the general elections.

The commission also took strong exception to the reports that funds allocated for many development projects were being diverted to the prime minister’s discretionary fund to be used for electioneering.

“It is of grave concern for all people that some government departments are in the process of inducting thousands of people on various positions which amounts to pre-poll rigging as political bribe … for tangible reasons, the ECP is of the considered view that such mass recruitments at this point in time when the general elections ... are going to take place shortly, will substantially influence the results of elections, therefore, it is imperative on all standards of legal, moral and democratic ethics that all kind of recruitments, except the recruitments which  are made by the federal and provincial public service commission, be banned forthwith,” says a notification issued by the ECP on Monday.

A few weeks back, the commission had slapped a ban on all advertisements from the national kitty for electioneering by federal and provincial governments. Constitutionally, the ECP is empowered to take such steps to ensure fair playing field to all parties in the elections.

Under Article 218 of the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the ECP to make such arrangements that are necessary to ensure that election are conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law, said a spokesman for the ECP.

This article empowers the ECP to issue such directives which all government departments are bound to follow.

“The commission has considered the repeated concern of people as expressed and voiced in the national press that money allocated to various important development projects in the country is being diverted to the discretionary fund of the prime minister for its utilisation in the development of his constituency,  is nothing short of yet another facet of pre-poll-rigging which, if not checked and brought to an immediate end, is likely to influence the electoral process adversely and thus sending an extremely wrong message to the public at large, making the election tainted and falling short of the constitutional provisions contained in Article 218 (3) of the Constitution,” reads the notification.

The commission directed that all kinds of recruitments in any ministry, division, department or institution of the federal government or any department or institution of any provincial and local government is banned forthwith.

The ECP also stated that diversion of funds already allocated to various development projects in the country is banned forthwith and the spending of funds so diverted shall stand frozen forthwith.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2013.


Muhammad Asghar | 8 years ago | Reply

Billions of funds have already been utilized by the Govt. for the sake of winning elections. The decision came too late. However something is better than nothing, It shows a positive sign that ECP is monitoring the situation this time. I agree with the comment above there`s much more needs to be done.

All the best to Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim..

Anserali Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

CEC should send the Wealth declaration of all sitting MNAs and MPAs tto FBR to check against the declared income and ask for individual report within 30 days.If they claim agriculture income,then they should furnish return of provincial agriculture tax. 80% of sitting lot will contest elections again

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