ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ), Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Thursday registered a petition in the Supreme Court looking for reconstitution of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in accordance of rights with the Constitution for holding the upcoming general elections in a free, fair and transparent manner. The TMQ chief, in the petition, tried for the Election Commission to be reconstituted according to Article 213 of the Constitution. He prayed the court to announce the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and four other members of the Election Commission of Pakistan not in accordance with the provisions of Article 213 and 218 of the Constitution, hence, all these appointments were void initially. The petition was registered under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making Federation of Pakistan through Ministry of Law and Justice, the Election Commission of Pakistan through Chief Election Commissioner, Federal Secretary Law
and Parliamentary Affairs and Parliamentary Committee of National Assembly for the appointment of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan as respondents. He prayed the court to direct the Federation of Pakistan to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and all other members of the Election Commission of Pakistan immediately in accordance with the process laid down in Article 213 (2) (a) and 218 (2) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of Pakistan so that the forthcoming elections might not be delayed on any pretext.
He summoned a recent case regarding the appointment of Justice (R) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah as Chairman NAB wherein, the Supreme Court invalidated his appointment for the reason that before making appointment the leader of the opposition had not been consulted and that mandate requirement in that regard had remained unfulfilled.
Later, talking to media representatives outside the SC premises, Qadri alleged that the existing ECP was formed unconstitutionally and declared it as illegal. He further said that according to Article 213 of the Constitution, the names of three nominations from each province should have been suggested but the procedure was not followed.
Qadri further said that he had personally appeared in the Supreme Court to submit the petition and that he would argue the case himself.
Qadri said under the Constitution, 15 names would be presented before the Parliament before the appointment of members in ECP. The Parliament would hear all the 15 candidates under Article 213. ‘The Constitution bounds parliamentary hearing before the appointment of members in the commission’, he added.
Responding to a question over his political party, Qadri maintained he would not contest in the upcoming general elections, adding, the central leadership of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) would decide their political agenda soon.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan had joined hands with Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek and called for a powerful Election Commission and an impartial caretaker government to ensure free and fair general elections.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Fakhruddin G Ebrahim said that it was not wise to malign the Election Commission for the sake of political interest.
Ebrahim said that the appointment of all members was made in the light of the Constitution. He said none of the members had affiliation with any political party.
The CEC lamented that such allegations ahead of general elections were unfortunate. He requested the parties to cooperate for the conduction of free and fair elections.
In the meanwhile, Chief Election Commission (CEC) Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim has expressed dissatisfaction over demands of some political parties for dissolution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and called the criticism the most unfortunate as ‘we are only six weeks away from the expiry of the term of present government and on the verge of a smooth transition from one democratic government to the next for the very first time’.
In a press statement, he said that the appointments of all the members of the ECP and CEC were made in complete compliance with all constitutional provisions and had absolutely no political affiliation. He said this appeared to be a deliberate attempt to malign the ECP for political gain.
The CEC said that the stakeholders were obviously entitled to criticize the work of the ECP and ‘we have welcomed all suggestions by quarters concerned’.
He noted that ECP had taken notice of allegations of pre-poll rigging and imposed unprecedented bans on advertisements using public money, doling out jobs for votes and diversion of funds by the provincial and federal governments to please constituents on the eve of elections.
He said that he had full faith in the integrity, independence and competence of all the members as well as the staff of the ECP. “We have only one objective – free, fair and transparent elections”, the CEC added. He requested all the political parties and leaders to assist them in achieving this dream instead of making false and baseless allegations.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dismissed references submitted against 35 legislators of the Punjab Assembly, who were accused of possessing dual nationalities.
During the hearing of a reference filed by Asif Ezdi, the 33 members of Punjab Assembly submitted their affidavits in the ECP clarifying that they did not possess any other nationality. While Dr Tahir Javed did not attend the hearing and former MPA Jamil Ashraf informed the commission that he had already submitted his resignation for possessing dual citizenship. The reference was heard by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retired) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim. The petitioner, former ambassador Asif Ezdi was asked to provide evidence to prove that the lawmakers held dual nationalities.
Ezdi replied that he had submitted the reference based on an intelligence report published in media, adding, he had no other evidence to prove that the lawmakers were dual nationals. He requested the commission to hold independent inquiry into their dual nationality and check their passports.
Member of ECP Roshan Essani told him that the ECP could not take action based on informal accusations, adding, it was the responsibility of the accuser to provide evidence to prove his allegations.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Zaeem Qadri said that the PML-N provincial legislators had been falsely implicated in the dual nationality case with the ECP. He added that a libel notice, amounting to one billion rupees, would be filed against those who were falsely implicating PML-N’s Punjab legislators.
Former MPA Jamil Ashraf submitted a statement saying that he had voluntarily resigned from the Punjab Assembly as he held dual citizenship.
The commission dismissed the reference against the lawmakers including Zaeem Qadri, Tariq Mehmood, Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti, Ghulam Sarwar, Rana Babar Hussain, Dr Faruukh Javed, Syed Raza Ali Gilani, Pir Kashmir Ali Chishti, Tahir Khalil Sindhu, Makhdoom Muhammad Irtaza, Arifa Khalid Pervez, Shehryar Riaz, Zaffar Zulqarnain Sahi, Tanvir-ul-Islam, Humaira Awais Shahid, Zeb Jaffer, Samiyya Amjad, Mussarat Hussain, Razia Joseph, Makhdoom Syed Iftikhar Gilani, Fozia Behram, Muhammad Saeed Mughal, Sardar Muhammad Hussain, Faiza Ahmed Malik, Imran Khalid Butt, Shah Jehan Ahmed Bhatti, Ali Haider, Noor Khan, Hafiz Mian Nauman, Mohsin Latif, Malik Shamsher Haider, Imran Ashraf and Muhammad Yar Heraj.
The commission also decided that the electricity and gas defaulters would not be allowed to contest in the upcoming general elections. The ECP had decided to contact Sui Gas Company and WAPDA in this regard.
The nomination papers of candidates would be approved after obtaining the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Sui Gas and WAPDA.