The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) on Tuesday decided to visit the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and meet the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja on September 15 (today).The decision has come on the heels of blistering allegations from the government ministers.
On Friday, Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati hit out at the institution during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs and accused it of taking bribes to rig polls, adding that such institutions should be “set on fire”.
Later in the day, the railways minister termed the chief election commissioner a “mouthpiece for the opposition”.
“PPP and ANP delegation will visit ECP Islamabad and meet Chief Election Commissioner tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:00am,” an official statement from PPP read, adding that the delegation would comprise Senator Sherry Rehman, Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Farhatullah Babar and ANP’s Aimal Wali Khan.
For the past few months, the government has been pushing to hold the next general elections via Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and advocating for i-voting and granting the overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in the elections.
The government ministers have lashed out at ECP and doubled down on their criticism after the poll body raised 37 objections on EVMs.
The opposition parties say that the government was resorting to “threats” because it had no other valid case for the introduction of EVMs, accusing it of stooping too low.
The PPP chairman had earlier urged the ECP to use its powers and disqualify anyone who attacked it.
Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs Senator Taj Haider had earlier said that all the efforts to forge understanding and consensus on the two electoral reforms bills went down in vain when the minister resorted to abusive language and laid a barrage of unfounded charges on the ECP of corruption and sabotaging democracy in Pakistan.
Read more PML-N, govt continue to battle over EVMs
During the last three months, he said, the members of the standing committee had reached a consensus on almost all the clauses of the first bill.
For the second amendment bill, he added, the members from both sides had given workable proposals to introduce reliable technology step by step in the electoral process and to find ways to give representation to overseas Pakistanis in the parliament.
He said that the government ministers have once again repeated their threats of getting the bills passed in the joint session of the parliament.Earlier on Tuesday, the ECP rejected the allegations levelled against it by government ministers over the last week and demanded the ministers produce evidence to back their claims.
A statement released by the ECP said, “the election commission has decided to issue notices to both ministers so further proceedings can be brought into effect regarding this matter.”