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Sunday April 21, 2024

ECP accepts another demand of PTI

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which is being persistently bashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its ‘partisan’ role, has accepted its another demand by temporarily suspending the implementation of the Rs341 billion package for farmers that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unfolded a few days back.In a span

By our correspondents
October 01, 2015
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which is being persistently bashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its ‘partisan’ role, has accepted its another demand by temporarily suspending the implementation of the Rs341 billion package for farmers that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unfolded a few days back.
In a span of just three days, the ECP has consented to the second major demand of the PTI, which has been attacking the prime minister’s initiative, asserting that the package was intended to influence the forthcoming by-elections and local polls in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The package was announced in the wake of a lingering protest, spanning several days, by farmers in different cities, who demanded concessions and subsidies as they were too hard-pressed.
Earlier, the PTI had demanded the deployment of the Pakistan army and Rangers in the by-polls, and the ECP instantly took the decision as wished by Imran Khan.
It is not clear whether the ECP, which is feeling the heat of the PTI campaign, decided to stay the partial execution of the farmers’ package on merit or due to Imran Khan’s tirade against it. However, both of its decisions are apparently meant to appease the PTI so that it tempers down its harangue. But this is not happening.
The PTI chairman’s change of venue of his public meeting from Islamabad, aimed at seeking the resignations of the four ECP members, a day before the present ECP decision, to Lahore was compelled by other considerations rather than reciprocating to the ECP for ordering deployment of the army and Rangers in the by-elections.
Even on Wednesday, when the ECP held the farmers’ package in abeyance, Imran Khan said his campaign was all about exposing complicity of ECP, PML-N, returning officers and the caretaker government in distorting the public mandate in the 2013 general elections.
By the way, the package has nothing to do with the neighbourhoods falling in the two constituencies of Lahore, which comprise purely urban belt as the initiative was to benefit the farmers, who are not the residents of this area.
The suspension of the package has obviously halted payment of subsidy and disbursement of loans to the small farmers. Thus, the agrarian economy and farmers are the ultimate victims, who make immense contribution. They will have to wait till December 3, the conclusion of the local council elections, to avail the package.
If the ECP’s decision is considered valid, it implies that the federal and provincial governments would have to put a complete stop to their development activities for another four weeks when the local polls will be over. The logic for deferment of the partial enforcement of the package is thus incomprehensible.
Imran Khan thinks that his crusade against the four ECP members will produce electoral dividends in the by-polls although he knows, in the heart of his hearts, that they are not going to leave their positions because of his campaign. However, he may get some benefits if he focuses on issues and the faux pas of the government in different areas rather than concentrating his attack on these members. There are so many issues where the government has goofed up and where it could be pinned down by its detractors.
The PTI chairman had been campaigning against the ECP members since long, which had not added to his popularity otherwise his nominees would not have consecutively lost the by-elections. All the decisions like staying the execution of the farmers’ package and deployment of the army and Rangers were taken by an ECP, which included the four ECP members, who are his prime target.