Imran's protest call not appropriate: former ECP official
The entire media failed to highlight the violation of code of conduct set by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) during the last year's general elections; however Imran Khan's protest call more than a year after the elections is not appropriate.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014
Talking to Business Recorder, Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad, former secretary ECP said the media failed to point out numerous violations of code of conduct set by the ECP for the 2013 general elections. The address of the then Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to the returning officers (ROs) a few months before the schedule of the elections was the first step towards influencing the outcome of elections.
"It was the media's responsibility to point this out and later the dispatch of letters to ROs across the country was yet another violation by the then chief justice which affected the polls process as the ECP was dancing to the tune of the then Supreme Court," he contended.
The apex court's involvement did not stop there, he said and added that the then Chief Justice appreciated role of ROs on June 06, 2013 for conducting 'the most transparent, free and fair elections'. Dilshad said this was again a violation of ECP's code of conduct as majority of the political parties were still making a hue and cry over the election results. "Here, it was necessary that the media should have pointed this out", he added.
To a question about the role of a particular media group in influencing the polls by declaring early results, he said a particular segment of the media could not be singled out as the entire media ignored ECP's code of conduct. A senior ECP official who declined to be named also acknowledged that the entire media violated the ECP code of conduct but not a single political party approached the commission with a complaint.
He added that there was no allegation against the ECP of extending support to any particular political party though he acknowledged that there were allegations of mismanagement and other related problems during the elections. He also made it clear that had the PTI raised the issue at the time of polling when Nawaz Sharif was giving his victory speech, the Commission would have certainly taken notice of it. "I don't understand the logic behind the stance of the PTI after the passage of one year," he stated.
Imran Khan had also accused Najam Sethi, the then caretaker chief minister Punjab, of playing a major role in rigging for which he was allegedly rewarded with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairmanship. In a legal notice served upon the PTI chairman, Usman G Rashid, the counsel for Sethi, made it clear that his client occupies the office on an honorary basis.
The legal notice further stated that allegation of '35 Punctures' is vague, adding it suggests, without any proof whatsoever, that Sethi had some role in PTI's defeat in the last year general elections. PTI chairman Imran Khan has yet to respond to the legal notice.