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What has warranted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to voice its full support to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)? This question needs a plausible answer.

Through a statement, the electoral watchdog has stated that its Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has the “unflinching confidence” of the ECP members — and that the commission’s decisions are taken with mutual consultation. …ECP takes all decision with mutual consultation keeping in view the legal requirements — all the four members of the ECP have expressed their unflinching confidence on chief election commissioner.”

However, what increasingly appears is the pressure that country’s lawyers’ bodies have exerted on the ECP through which they have sought the removal of its head, the CEC. The bodies are Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council and Sindh High Court Bar Association.

They have questioned the credibility of CEC by claiming that he has not been dealing with the electoral affairs properly and judiciously.

It should come as no surprise as the CEC has already been facing criticism mainly because of the election delay.

Little do, however, we appreciate the fact that the delay has been caused by the issue of delimitation of constituencies for which the last government led by Shehbaz Sharif should be held responsible.

Since the task of delimitation of constituencies required certain time for its accomplishment, general elections could not be held by November 2023. I would urge the learned lawyers to review their approach to the CEC.

Certainly, their opposition would ultimately collide with their own values and tarnish their image in case the general elections are further delayed on account of various reasons; one of which would be the removal of CEC at this point in time.

Last but not least, it is quite unfortunate that the President of Pakistan, too, has attracted criticism for purportedly delaying the polls.

Shariatullah Quadri (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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