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ECP response seems ‘inappropriate’: Fawad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Federal Ministers on Friday expressed displeasure over the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) response, saying that ECP response seemed ‘inappropriate.”

Addressing a press conference along with the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shibli Faraz, and Senator-elect Barrister Ali Zafar, Fawad Chaudhry said that the federal government respects every state institution of the country including the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

“ECP is respectable to us and will remain”, said Fawad and added that institutions show their impartiality through practical steps, not through press releases.

Chaudhry also asked questions from the ECP. “PM said horse-trading during Senate polls was not stopped, was that the matter of shame for ECP.”

He said that the directions of the Supreme Court for holding fair and free Senate elections were neglected by the ECP. We are not planning to hold any protest in front of the supreme electoral body, Fawad added. “There is no [truth] to the rumor that PTI will be protesting in front of the ECP tomorrow.”

He stated that PM Imran meant that the government and the ECP should work together to “develop a mechanism that will stop rigging” and ensure free and fair elections.

“I want to assure the CEC and members that we want to see you strong,” said Chaudhry.

Fawad Chaudhry also said that the PTI was confident that Prime Minister Imran Khan will successfully obtain the vote of confidence from the National Assembly. So far 177 MNAs have reached the federal capital. The members of PTI and coalition partners have assured their support to PM Imran Khan in the National Assembly in obtaining the vote of confidence.

This comes as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) earlier expressed disappointment over the statements of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan regarding the voting process and results of Senate elections.

The Election commission issued its press release after a special meeting to review the allegations leveled by the PM during his address to the nation after facing major upset in the Senate polls.

”Every party and candidate should have the courage to accept its defeat in the elections,” ECP stated.

“It is a shocking matter that under the same staff in the same election under the same roof on the same day, [what they won] is acceptable and [what they lost] is unacceptable. Is this not an open contradiction?” the commission questioned.

In its statement, the ECP said: “This is democracy and free elections and the beauty of free elections which the entire nation saw and which is mandated by the Constitution.”

The ECP further added that the Senate elections were held according to the law and the Constitution and were conducted in a “good way”, adding that “statements and discussions that had come to the electoral body through media reports were “saddening” especially statements made by some members of the federal cabinet and specifically what the prime minister said in his address yesterday”.

“The national institutions should be allowed to work without any pressure. If there is any disagreement then the person should provide concrete evidence to support his claims instead of maligning the departments”, the commission clarified.

“The election commission is well-aware of its duties and rejects the criticism”, the press release further added.

Previously, PM Khan raised questions over the performance of the Election Commission of Commission (ECP) for not taking action against individuals “buying” votes for their candidates in recently held Senate polls while addressing the nation.

“We presented a bill in the parliament for open balloting in Senate elections. When other parties who previously supported open balloting did not support our demand, we went to the Supreme Court,” adding that “Even a video surfaced in which KP MPAs were receiving bribes in exchange for Senate votes.”

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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