LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Friday that the government has no authority to change members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) participated in the local government elections and by-polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa under the same ECP and the by-poll in Punjab will also take place under it,” he told reporters.
Clearing the air on the accusation made by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah a day earlier on the detention of PPP former minister Dr Asim Hussain, the minister said that Dr Asim’s case will be dealt with according to law and Constitution, adding that no victimisation is being done on political or personal grounds. “We are ready to remove Khursheed Shah’s reservations.”
The government respects the leader of the opposition, he added.
Talking about the resignations of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmakers, Pervaiz Rashid said that the government would try to bring the Karachi-based party back into the national political fold.
Imran Khan, he said, isn’t in a position to hold a sit-in. “Imran Khan has yet to pay the bills of the previous sit-in. He has to pay for the drumbeater and cook.”
The information minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) announced to go for the by-polls in Lodhran and Lahore constituencies, however, the PTI is yet to declare that it would also contest the by-elections. “Imran Khan wouldn’t dare contest the by-polls. In Haripur by-election, his party had scored fewer votes than it did in the general elections.”
Giving all credit to the former NA speaker, Pervaiz Rashid said that it was due to Ayaz Sadiq that Imran Khan returned to parliament.
Talking about the MQM leader’s murder case, he said that Scotland Yard is doing its own investigation into Dr Imran Farooq murder case, adding that some people involved in the crime were arrested in Pakistan and later Scotland Yard was given access to them.
The federal minister said that if Shaikh Rashid, chief of the Awami Muslim League, wanted to contest election from Lahore, he would face him. He also said that he could contest against PTI’s Jehangir Tareen despite the fact he himself is a bicycle-wala.
Imran warned of sit-in
The ruling party’s leaders warned Imran Khan not to think about any sit-in over rigging charges as the inquiry commission had already termed his claims baseless.
Federal Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Zubair Umar, and Danyal Aziz told a joint press conference that Imran is planning to launch a campaign against the PML-N led government over allegations of rigging.
Imran should read the verdict of the tribunals which never said that the 2013 elections were rigged but rather loopholes of the ECP were highlighted and their candidates were unseated, they added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2015.