ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has convened an important meeting today to review the speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had levelled serious allegations on the role of the electoral body during the Senate polls
The prime minister, in his televised speech, had slammed the ECP for not taking measures to ensure transparent polling and held it responsible for the illegal practice of buying and selling of votes as it did not introduce traceable ballots.
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja summoned the meeting to review the statements and allegation levelled by the prime minister against the ECP.
All members of the ECP will attend the meeting.
The commission has also acquired the video of the premier’s speech.
‘ECP provided an opportunity for the democracy to be discredited’
PM Imran took the ECP to task for failing to ensure a transparent election in his speech after the upset defeat of PTI candidate Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh for the Senate seat from Islamabad on Wednesday.
“Your biggest responsibility is a transparent election and it is your constitutional responsibility,” he said to the ECP.
“Why did you go to the court and say there should be a secret ballot? Does the constitution ever allow a theft of votes and for bribery to occur like has been in the last 30 years?” the premier asked.
He said the court had allowed the Commission to hold a secret vote but have some sort of identification mechanism whereby the PTI could now have discovered the 15-16 lawmakers “who sold themselves off”.
“You saved those criminals with this secret ballot and you hurt our democracy,” he said, in indignation at the ECP’s move to ignore the Supreme Court’s provisions to identify the ballots.
“Did you not know it was your responsibility to investigate such incidents? All the agencies fall under you. This entire drama unfolded in front of everyone,” he said, referring to the video where lawmakers can be seen shovelling currency notes into their bags.
“When the country’s leadership takes and gives bribes, will you ask the common man to become honest then but do these things yourself?”
He quoted a Chinese saying that says “fish rots from the top”.
“You allowed corruption to occur at the top, and this happened right before you, and you knew it would happen. I kept saying that markets have opened and there is an auction going on. And when the Supreme Court gave you a chance, what reason was there to not bar code a mere 1,500 ballots?” the premier asked in exasperation.
“You provided an opportunity for the country’s democracy to be discredited […] I ask you has the strength of our democracy gone up or down with this open horse-trading?” he went on to ask the ECP.
“Pakistan was the name of a great dream. It was meant to be an Islamic welfare state and Allama Iqbal said it will be a shining example for the world.
“Now this video has come and you have no idea how much money has been used and how people sold their souls and how our politics was corrupted,” PM Imran Khan said.
“And if such people come into power, how will they serve the nation or recover our nation’s wealth? […] And then they say corruption is rampant in our country,” he added.