Sunday April 21, 2024

Judiciary will again supervise general elections

By Ansar Abbasi
May 03, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The forthcoming elections will be held under the judiciary as the high courts have provided to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) almost 1,000 names of district court judges from all over the country for their appointment as Returning Officers (ROs) and District Returning Officers (DROs).

ECP officials confirmed that the notification of these ROs and DROs will be issued on May 7. On May 3, Thursday, the ECP will formally notify its comprehensive and final report on delimitation of constituencies.

Within 30 days, the ECP on Wednesday successfully completed hearing of all complaints filed against the commission’s preliminary report on delimitation of constituencies, which was issued on April 5. A total of 1,280 complaints were filed, all of which were heard in an open court by the ECP in different parts of the country.

This successful completion of the delimitation process will now lead to the notification of ROs and DROs. The ECP sources said that from all the five high courts, the ECP has received the names of 129 judges for their appointment as DROs, and 849 judges for their appointment as ROs.

In the National Judicial Policy issued on 2009, the judiciary had decided not to engage the judges in the election process to avoid unnecessary controversies and allegations of rigging. However, following the demand of the political parties and the request of the-then chief election commissioner, the judiciary gave an exemption to allow the judges to act as ROs and DROs in the 2013 elections.

But as was apprehended while formulating the 2009 National Judicial Policy, the losing political parties, particularly the PPP and PTI, alleged massive rigging and blamed the ROs and DROs for having rigged the elections for the PML-N. Later, the PTI led a campaign against the alleged rigged elections and blamed the then Chief Justice of Pakistan for the wrong.

Although, the judicial commission later formed to probe the election rigging allegations did not find any substance in these charges and saw no role of ROs, DROs or the-then chief justice, the PTI and PPP continued to call the 2013 elections as ROs rigged polls.

This time the political parties as well as the ECP again showed their interest to engage the judicial officers as ROs and DROs to give credence to the upcoming elections. The judiciary in return responded positively and offered the list of its officers for their appointment as ROs and DROs.