ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) meets here Monday (today) to take a formal decision on the fate of already disqualified eleven legislators, though it is most likely that bypassing the police, criminal cases against them are to be sent directly to the concerned sessions courts.
“The experience with regard to sending around 23 cases of lawmakers allegedly having fake degrees to the police was not good, as the police appeared reluctant to proceed against the cheaters due to their influence. That is why this time we are most likely to send cases of these four MNAs and seven MPAs to sessions judges directly for speedy trials,” explained ECP sources.
Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim will preside over the rare meeting of its nature, to be attended by the four Election Commission Members (ECMs) and Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan.
Sources close to the Election Commission Members (ECMs) told The News Saturday that immediately after the Supreme Court order an informal consultation was held here at the Election Commission Secretariat to initiate criminal proceedings against the disqualified lawmakers. The first phase was completed within hours after the apex court order by de-notifying them.
Cases against the legislators would be furnished in the light of Article 63 (1) (c), the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Representation of People’s Act. Their alleged crime is that they deliberately hid facts (being dual nationality holders) from the electoral body at the time of filing their nomination papers.
After the meeting, sources pointed out, within a day or two, cases would be sent to the provincial election commissions for referral to the concerned session courts, wherein the Election Commission would be the petitioner against these legislators. These courts are supposed to decide within 120 days.
Moreover, the meeting would give go-ahead for writing to the Senate, the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies to submit fresh affidavits of the lawmakers in line with the Supreme Court order. “We expect two to three dozen more dual nationality holders to come up after fresh affidavits are submitted,” they noted.
In its short order, the apex court last week disqualified eleven lawmakers for having more than one passport but hiding it from the Election Commission. The ECP de-notified them immediately.
About other agenda items of the meeting, sources said that a set of proposals that include newly drafted code of conduct would also be discussed on which consultation would later be held with leaders of 15 political parties on September 27.
“The prime objective of our meeting with political parties is also to convey a clear-cut message to all and sundry that the Election Commission and political parties are ready for general election, as some elements are trying to portray as if the elections will not be held,” sources said.