ISLAMABAD: Former secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Kanwar Dilshad has said the commission enjoys extensive powers under Article 218 of the Constitution, which cannot be challenged in any court.
The ECP has the authority to implement the powers given under Article 2018 to hold fair and free elections as well as shutting the doors on the corrupt practices, he added. In an interview to daily Jang, Kanwar said despite having all constitutional powers, corrupt practices were visible whenever the ECP held national elections or by-polls, as it did not take courageous steps under Article 218.
However, the commission forced the country’s powerful political elite to beg for pardon during the July-25 election and also took good decisions with regard to the secrecy of ballot and abusive language, he added.
Kanwar said necessary powers were delegated to the ECP under the Election Act 2017, under which it had the authority to take notice of irregularities itself.
An attempt was made to organise the July 25 elections according to international standards, the ECP’s repute was damaged due to a strong protest by the opposition parties after the failure of the RTS, meaning that some matters needed attention, said Kanwar.
He said that besides the Nadra system, millions of rupees spent by the UNDP on training of presiding officers failed to produce the desired results.
When the RTS had flopped due to technical reasons, the presiding officers should have acted wisely and delivered the Form 45 to the returning officers personally.
As the presiding officers were to get Rs1,000 honorarium for sending the polling results through WhatsApp, they kept waiting for resumption of the RTS in their longing for not losing the honorarium.
It caused an unrest among the candidates and political parties throughout the country and created doubts about the fairness of the polls.
About signature of the polling agents on Form 45, the presiding officers were told during the training that getting signature of the poling agents was a must.
If any polling agent refuses to sign the Form 45 for political or other reasons, it was mandatory for the presiding officers to write down those reasons on the Form 45.
The ECP should initiate action against the presiding officers on its own and also summon the UNDP experts over faulty training of the presiding officers.
The opposition parties should keep in mind the results of elections also, as they got over 25 million votes collectively as a result of fair and free polls. In Punjab, the PML-N could have opted for making the provincial government with simple majority.
It is a clear proof of fair and free elections in the country.
The former ruling party failed to make its government in Punjab with the help of independent elected members, and thus termed the July 25 elections rigged.