ECP fails to complete fresh electoral lists by deadline
31 May, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Due to the absence of a permanent chief election commissioner (CEC) and Election Commission secretary, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has become ineffective, as it is failing to complete its commitment regarding preparation of fresh electoral lists until the last week of May.
Official sources revealed to our sources that due to the non-appointment of a permanent CEC and ECP secretary, the commission is facing immense difficulties in dealing with several of its matters, while progress in different matters was very slow.
The official sources said that despite the court's several directions, the ECP had failed to meet its own deadline regarding the completion of new electoral lists in the last week of May, as more time would be required for the purpose.
They said that enforcement of new election reforms was also slow, as the ECP was still unable to establish a 'Political Finance Wing' for scrutinising financial matters of politicians.
"In the recent past, five meetings were held with the members of political parties for getting their input regarding the new election reforms, but this process has been stopped after the departure of a permanent CEC and secretary," a senior member of the ECP revealed.
He said there was an immense need to appoint two competent and bold persons on these posts because local bodies elections or general elections could be announced any time after the budget.
It has been learnt that former ECP secretary Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan was very efficient, and because of people working under him, new programmes had been introduced for ensuring free and fair elections.
It is to be noted that acting CEC Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan is also the judge in-charge of the Federal Judicial Academy of Pakistan, and the chairman of Enrollment Committee of Pakistan Bar Council for enrollment of advocates of the Supreme Court. Besides other important positions, he is also chairman of a committee constituted by the chief justice for the establishment of the Federal University of Law and Judicial Administration.
Superior bars of the country such as Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association have already urged the government and opposition to appoint a permanent CEC immediately, but they had failed to evolve any consensus on the name of any effective retired judge for the post.
Meanwhile, former SCBA president Asma Jahangir, while addressing during the conference on Balochistan, said the new CEC should be free from all external and judicial influences. She also warned that if the status quo continued, elections could not be held in time.
Earlier, during proceedings of the case regarding election expenses on April 17, the court had observed that the ECP had become a dull body, as it did not conduct any investigation or scrutinise the accounts of political parties.
The court said that after 20th Constitutional Amendment, the ECP had been empowered and it could set up a caretaker government in the country, but it had failed to exercise its power in conducting fair, free and transparent elections.