PPP fears ECP has put its 'credibilityc at stake
23 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People's Party has said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would lose its credibility if it "continued taking instructions from media houses".
The ECP came under fire in the Upper House of parliament on Friday when a PPP lawmaker said the telephone call by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim to the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly was tantamount to pre-poll rigging.
Speaking on a point of order, PPP's Senator Saeed Ghani said, "The credibility of the ECP is at stake as it is taking guidelines from specific media groups." CEC Ebrahim had made a telephonic call to leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to pacify him after the latter, in the National Assembly, reacted severely to the language used in a letter sent to the parliamentarians by the ECP for the verification of their degrees
The ECP had written letters to 249 parliamentarians, including Chaudhry Nisar, seeking their educational certificates for onward verification from the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Senator Saeed Ghani said credibility of the ECP was at stake "as it was working on the guidelines of certain media groups". He objected to the phone call made by the CEC to the leader of the opposition and termed it pre-poll rigging. "If the ECP would work under the pressure of media, its role would become suspicious," he emphasised.
Ghani said writing a letter to the parliamentarians was inappropriate and a move intended to malign politicians, and added that what the leader of the opposition said about the ECP in the National Assembly was quite right. He suggested that the ECP should only take measures to ensure transparency in the elections rather than "purifying the whole country".
Senate Chairman Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari proposed the leader of the opposition in the House, Ishaq Dar, to look into the matter of degree verification in the Parliamentary Committee on Election Issues, but the latter replied that it was not part of the terms of reference of the committee; however, they would be looked into.
At the same time he said that the demand of 30-day scrutiny of nomination papers of the election candidates, as reported in some newspapers, would be unconstitutional, as under the constitution the election process would have to be completed within 60 days.
On an another point of order Senator Hasil Khan Bazenjo said the people of DG Khan were demanding to be part of Balochistan instead of the newly proposed Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab province and urged the need for changes in the limits of proposed province.