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September 1, 2015

Why did ECP members not resign?


September 1, 2015

ISLAMABAD: All the four members of the Election Commission of Pakistan were ready to resign if the Chief Election Commissioner asked them to, but the CEC not only reposed confidence in them he also came down hard on those who are criticising them.
A well-placed source in the ECP on the condition of anonymity informed The News that the decision of not succumbing to any political pressure was taken unanimously in Monday’s meeting in order to maintain the integrity of the institution, informed the source. Earlier there were indications that the EC members would step down voluntarily today.
The ECP issued a statement saying the commission deliberated on the demands of some political parties regarding resignation of the ECP members. The commission however decided that the ECP members would not resign from their posts until the decision of Supreme Judicial Council.
It is important to mention here that the PTI leadership held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza just before the release of Judicial Commission’s report and demanded resignation of four members of ECP. However the CEC maintained that he could not do so the EC members could only be removed following a constitutional procedure.
The very next day PTI’s lawyers filed a reference against the ECP members in the Supreme Judicial Council saying action should be taken against the ECP members as they have committed irregularities. Also, they should be stopped from performing their duties till the verdict of the reference.
PTI’s legal brains know that the procedure of removing the ECP members and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is the same as that of removing the apex court’s judges i.e. the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), as mentioned in Article 209.
As per constitution, the members are appointed under article 218, which says the ECP will consist of the CEC, who will be its chairman, and four members, each of whom has been a judge of a high court

from each province. Similarly, according to Article 213, the CEC or a member will not be ousted from office except in the manner prescribed in Article 209. However, they may resign.
Only the CEC and the four EC members are appointed or removed strictly as per the Constitution.
The nomination of provincial election commissioners (PECs) is done differently. The CEC nominates them from amongst the senior ECP officials, who are civil servants. Unlike the CEC and ECP members, they are not the constitutional officeholders.

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