3 Pak ministers seek removal of poll body’s top officials over alleged failure to conduct fair elections

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Mar 15 (PTI) The Pakistan government on Monday asked the top officials of the election commission to step down due to their alleged failure in organising fair and free polls in the country.

Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Information Minister Shibli Faraz of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said at a press conference here that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has 'lost the confidence of all political parties'.

'To ensure transparent elections are held, is the responsibility of the election commission. This responsibility was not fulfilled. The election commission failed to act neutral, hence it should resign,' Mahmood said.

He said that due to the ECP’s failure to organise free and fair polls, the chief election commissioner and four of its members should resign, paving the way to set up a new election commission having the confidence of all political parties.

'We are suggesting something that is beneficial for the country, our democracy and our future,” Mahmood said, adding that the election commission has clearly failed in its responsibilities.

The ECP was criticised by the government after it annulled the results of election held on a seat of the National Assembly last month in Daska area of Sialkot district.

The PTI had reportedly won it but the Opposition alleged fraud.

After the resignation demand, the main Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lashed out at the government for targeting the ECP.

“If someone really needs to resign in this country, then it is the government (of Prime Minister Imran Khan). He (Khan) and his cabinet should resign immediately,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said.

The friction between the government and the election commission intensified after it refused to organise polls on open ballots on 48 seats of Senate on March 3.

It resulted in the defeat of finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh at the hands of former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani.

After Shaikh's defeat, Prime Minister Khan had lashed out at the election commission, accusing it of discrediting democracy, damaging the morality of the nation and failing to stop corruption in the closely-contested Senate elections. PTI SH CPS