The Express Tribune: Petition on Feb 6: PAT wants court to declare ECP void

By Umer NangianaPublished: February 4, 2013


After being unable to convince the government to dissolve the election commission, Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has decided to approach the Supreme Court (SC) on February 6 with a petition to declare the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) void ab initio.

The PAT would file a separate petition to challenge the present composition of the ECP, maintaining that the appointment of four provincial election commissioners was not in line with the constitutional provisions.

“Article 213 of the constitution makes it mandatory to appoint the commissioners after a formal hearing and this was violated in the appointment of the present provincial election commissioners,” said PAT central president Raheeq Abbasi. He added that the commissioners were appointed without holding any hearing.

His party believed that the provincial election commissioners were as important as the chief. “Without impartial provincial election commissioners, a neutral and powerful election commission could not be achieved,” said Abbasi.

He said that the decision to approach the apex court was taken after the January 27 meeting between PAT leadership and the government officials accompanied by constitutional experts. While the meeting made positive progress on first three points of the Islamabad Declaration, it hit a deadlock on the fourth point which was about the matter of dissolution of ECP.

“The government maintained that they thought the composition of the current ECP was constitutional and did not need to be dissolved but we disagreed,” said Abbasi while speaking to The Express Tribune.

He said that the government did not object when its representatives were told about the PAT’s decision of taking the matter to the apex court. He said the decision was announced immediately after the January 27 meeting by PAT chief Dr Qadri.

The PAT leader, who led a long march to Islamabad on January 14, has already expressed his concerns that the violation of constitutional provisions in the commissioners’ appointment would mean unfair elections.

The PAT central president Abbasi said that his party would file a separate petition in the court to make the ECP put a complete ban on legislators and the government carrying out development projects in their respective areas in the run-up to elections. “It was pre-poll rigging,” said Abbasi.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2013.

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