ECP flatly refuses to consider govt objections
09 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Sticking to its guns, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wrote back to the Ministry of Law that there will be no change in the proposed nomination forms and hence overlooked its 10 objections thereon.
"We received reservations of the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs in writing at 7pm today and immediately wrote back to them that the Election Commission will stick to its revised set of nomination papers," a senior official privy to the development told here Friday night.
The ECP had a look at the reservations and decided to keep its own draft unchanged, deemed necessary to barring tax evaders, defaulters and those involved in other irregularities from taking part in the general election. Now the ECP draft and the one suggested by the ministry would be forwarded to the president, who would then take a decision thereon.
The Law Ministry had raised 10 objections on the ECP draft, which included why should a candidate be asked to provide details of his academic background, as this was meant for technocrats for the Senate seats, information should not be sought about a candidate's family member, the ministry opposed the proposed details of his travel abroad during the last three years, the ECP should also not seek details of his performance as lawmaker during the last five years.
During his brief visit to the ECP Secretariat on Thursday, the Law Minister Farooq H Naek had told the media that they would give their reservations to the commission by the evening but the document reached its destination on Friday evening instead, showing the government's delaying tactics.
"We have made our intentions clear through manifestations, including the amended nomination forms and the nation must know now who is impeding efforts to ensure only neat and clean people reach the legislatures," said one of the ECP members, when approached on telephone.
He contended that the ECP aim was to ensure justness, fairness and credibility of the general election and to guard against the corrupt practices.Through the letter, the ministry has been conveyed that it would be appreciated if the president approves the nomination forms and the Election Commission is informed about it by March 11 noon.
It was conveyed to the ministry that it was necessary for the Election Commission to get the related information on nomination forms by March 11 noon so that they could order printing of over 0.1 million forms from March 12 that needed to be transported to the returning officers in time.
Meanwhile, the military authorities have assured cooperation to the ECP for maintenance of peaceful environment for the elections. ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan met the military officials at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and discussed the related matters. Another round of talks will be held between the two sides after the announcement of the election schedule.
In a related development, the ECP, through its secretary, sent a letter of appreciation to the auditor general for not okaying the release of Rs5 billion in the name of development funds for the lawmakers. The summary was approved by the prime minister and then hastily processed by the Ministry of Finance and forwarded to the auditor general, who declined to okay it unless a clearance was taken from the ECP.
Another letter was dispatched on Friday to the Ministry of Finance, asking the finance secretary to write back to it the names of those officialswho were instrumental in sending the fund summary to the auditor general despite the ECP ban on release of uplift funds.
"The Election Commission wants the names of these officials so that necessary action can be ordered against them for flouting the ban, imposed last month," said the ECP source.The ECP has proposed two tentative polling dates to the president i.e. May 08-09. "We gave them two election time-tables, keeping in view the possibility of 15 days for scrutiny of nomination papers," another source said.
He explained that the National Assembly would complete it term on March 16: within four days, the president would announce the date of elections and this would be followed by the election schedule by the ECP, and the election process prior to the polling would take 40-45 days; this indicates the elections are likely to be held on either May 08 or May 09. Polling has to be held within 60 days after the assemblies complete their term.