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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure that all political parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its candidates have an equal opportunity to participate in the upcoming general elections 2024.

The commission was told that the PTI or for that matter any person representing any other political party in the electoral process may approach the ECP Friday at 03:00 pm for the redressal of their grievances relating to the elections.

The ECP was directed to attend to these grievances on an urgent basis and resolve them expeditiously to ensure that the electoral process remains smooth, open, transparent, free, and fair. Let this exercise be completed by ECP promptly without disturbing the timelines given in the election programme because voters must have faith in the electoral process for our democracy to succeed.

Polls: PTI urges SC to help ensure a level playing field

A three-judge bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Athar Minallah, on Friday, heard PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan’s petition filed under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

The PTI requested the court to direct the ECP to ensure free and fair elections in the country by providing a level playing field for its leaders and workers.

The Court said that the importance of free and fair elections, and maintaining a level playing field during elections, cannot be overstated. Free and fair elections provide legitimacy to the elected government and maintain the trust of the public in the democratic process.

A level playing field is essential for healthy competition, ensuring that elections are a true reflection of the people’s choice, rather than the result of manipulation or coercion. It is important to remember that “organizing free and fair elections is more important than the results itself.”

It is alleged that members of PTI, upon filing their nomination papers under the announced election programme, are being arrested, harassed and their nomination papers are being snatched from them which is blatant abuse of a fair and free electoral process.

The petitioner’s counsel informed the bench that they have approached the ECP under the Elections Act, 2017 by filing complaints, however, there has been no response on behalf of the Commission.

In pursuant of the Court’s direction, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan and the representatives of the ECP appeared before the court. The said representatives at the very outset submit that certain complaints have been received by the ECP today (Friday) morning, which will be immediately attended to.

Both the attorney general and the ECP representative assured the Court that elections would be held freely and fairly as mandated under the Constitution.

They further assured that the grievances of the members of the PTI or any other political party received by the ECP will be decided and resolved on an urgent basis and in accordance with law and where any action is required to be taken then that would be taken so that every political party in the country enjoys a level playing field and that the elections are conducted freely and fairly.

The ECP plays a crucial role in the democratic process, especially in conducting elections. Under Article 218(3) of the Constitution, ECP enjoys the constitutional responsibility to conduct elections honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law and to guard against corrupt practices. While under Article 220 of the Constitution all the executive authorities in the country shall assist the ECP in the discharge of its functions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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Aslam Tanoli Dec 23, 2023 02:14pm
As if anybody listens to supreme court
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Builder Dec 23, 2023 09:55pm
What's a level playing field? Three large political parties want next government and among them are those too who have no more than 10% mandate. What to they expect?
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