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February 8, 2013

‘ECP be restrained till restructuring’

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February 8, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Thursday filed an application with the Supreme Court wherein he prayed to the court that till the restructuring of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), its chief, the chief election commissioner (ECP), and its four members should be restrained from working. He filed the application under Order 20 Rule 1, Supreme Court Rules 1980.
Earlier, Dr Qadri filed a petition with the Supreme Court praying to the court that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should be restructured. He also prayed in his petition that the appointment of chief election commissioner (CEC) and four other members of theElection Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should be declared void ab-initio as it was done in contravention of the provisions of Article 213 and of the Constitution.
Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the Federation of Pakistan through the Ministry of Law and Justice, the ECP through the CEC, Federal Secretary Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Parliamentary Committee of National Assembly for the appointment of members of the ECP as the respondents.
The petitioner prayed to the apex court to direct the Federation of Pakistan to appoint the CEC and ECP members immediately in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 213(2) (a) and 218(2) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of Pakistan so that the forthcoming election might not be delayed on any pretext and conducted, fairly and in accordance with law.
He contended that the ECP members had not been appointed according to the procedure laid down in the Constitution and their appointments were unconstitutional, invalid and void ab-initio. He contended that their assumption of office and continuation as such was unconstitutional and unlawful.
The petitioner submitted that clause 2A of the Article 213 envisages a mandatory hearing by the Parliamentary Committee before confirmation of anyone to be appointed as CEC and members.
He cited a recent case concerning the appointment of Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah as NAB chairman as the Supreme Court invalidated his appointment because the leader of the opposition had not been consulted before making appointment and that mandatory requirement in that regard remained unfulfilled.
Dr Tahirul Qadri contended that in order to invoke the relevant provisions of the Constitution it needed to be ascertained as to whether the Parliamentary Committee had called the nominees for hearing before appointing them against the post of Chief Election Commissioner or members of the commission before its recommendations of confirmation. He said that record of the proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee should be procured for perusal in this regard.
Online adds: Afterwards, while talking to the media men outside the SC building, Dr Qadri said that the matter related to reconstitution of the EC would not lead to any postponement of the elections and all these matters could be settled within 7-10 days. “The Election Commission, which has come to existence after a deal between government and opposition, cannot come up to the expectations of the people. The composition of the existing EC is illegal and unconstitutional,” he remarked.
“We want that the EC should be constituted in a constitutional manner so that the forthcoming general elections are held in a transparent way. Several objectives were achieved from the sit-in staged by us. However, the differences persisted with the government and its allied parties on the issue of EC’s formation. We told them that we would resort to the Supreme Court with regard to the reconstitution of the EC. They said that they would not create any hurdle if we approached the SC on this count,” he held.
Our correspondent adds from Lahore: Later, after returning from Islamabad, Dr Tahirul Qadri, in his brief chat with the media persons at the Lahore Airport, said that he would continue to struggle for the reformation of the electoral politics to empower the masses so that they might achieve their rights.
He said that he would appear before the court to plead the case and expressed the hope that it would not take a long time to be decided. He said if the parliamentary committee had adopted a constitutional procedure to appoint the provincial election commissioners, he would have no objection to the ECP. He said in case of a decision for reconstitution of the ECP, it would require only a week to appoint the provincial ECs. To a question, he said he would honour any decision by the SC on his petition.