Wednesday September 22, 2021

ECP has become the 'headquarters for Opposition parties': Fawad Chaudhry

"Govt had asked Opposition to come forward, participate in discussions related to electoral reforms," he says
September 10, 2021
Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati (L) Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry (C) and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan hold a press conference in Islamabad on Friday, September 10, 2021. — PID
Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati (L) Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry (C) and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan hold a press conference in Islamabad on Friday, September 10, 2021. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the Election Commission of Pakistan seems to be acting as a "mouthpiece of the Opposition", so much so that it seems to have become "the headquarters for Opposition parties," Geo.tv reported.

Fawad's comments came during a press briefing that he was holding in Islamabad alongside the Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.

Chaudhry said that the PTI-led government had promised to make the ECP free, fair, and transparent, and to that end, a commission for reforms — headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk — was also formed. However, the ECP remains surrounded by controversies due to its "strange logic".

The minister said that the PTI government had asked the Opposition to come forward and participate in discussions related to electoral reforms.

"The government wanted to incorporate technology in the electoral process [to ensure transparency], however, it seems like the ECP has become the headquarters for Opposition parties."

The minister said that all institutions of the country, including the ECP, must abide by the law.

Chaudhry said that in fact, it is not the ECP that must be considered as a whole while talking about the law, but the chief election commissioner, who has "become fond" of acting as a "mouthpiece of the Opposition".

"The chief election commissioner — who may have had contact — naturally, he may have had close contact with (PML-N supremo) Nawaz Sharif, and others — and may even have sympathies for him, which we have no issue with — but whether it is the election commission or any other institution, it must abide by the parliament," said Chaudhry.

He said that PML-N leaders are trying to make legal amendments related to the use of EVMs "controversial".

The minister said that the chief election commissioner should "either take a look at his behaviour or join politics."

"You better not become a tool used by small political parties," Chaudhry told the chief election commissioner.

He added that whenever the Opposition loses in elections, it starts crying foul about rigging.

"Our Opposition comprises intellectually-stunted parties. The only skill they have is to seek extensions for the hearings of their court cases."

Speaking about the incorporation of technology into the electoral process, Chaudhry said that even the Supreme Court of Pakistan endorsed it to ensure transparency.