Don’t disrespect people’s mandate: ECP urges to losing parties

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News Analysis |

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is facing severe criticism by political parties and candidates who could not manage to win the General Election 2018.  On Tuesday, the ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob responded to those political leaders who had to experience shocking defeats. “Voters exercised their right to vote in a free and fair atmosphere… It is against the basic principles of democracy to disrespect the Pakistani people’s mandate without any reason, or for politically motivated reasons,” the ECP official said.

Those who could not make their ways to the National Assembly of Pakistan have been urged to wait for their turn and respect the people’s mandate. It is against the basic principles pf democracy if the ‘losers’ make an alliance and challenge the writ of the state.

Mr. Babar also mentioned that foreign observers have also deemed these elections as free and fair. The results of the elections are, therefore, “credible”, he concluded.

Moreover, he rejected claims made by political parties that they were not given a level playing field in the run-up to the elections. Mr. Yaqoob said that the ECP had taken all steps to ensure that all parties had equal opportunities to campaign for elections and had also used its authority whenever needed. “On PML-N’s request, we asked NAB (National Accountability Bureau) not to arrest the party’s candidates while the election campaign was underway [so that] they would have a level playing field. NAB agreed to do so and assured us of its cooperation,” he explained.

Read more: Saad Rafique shuns ECP results for NA-131 and demands a recount

Political Parties cry foul over PTI’s win

Initially, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) complained that the results were deliberately delayed and form 45 was not given to their agents present during the counting of votes. ECP, however, rejected these claims and said those who were losing the contest were willingly leaving the place of counting. The Presiding officers did not ask anyone to leave the office, he added.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman of MMA rejected results of GE 2018

Later on, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, President of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), has threatened to disrupt the political process in the country if the results of General Elections 2018 were not declared “null and void”. The MMA president chaired a Multi-party conference (MPC) along with the president of PML-N, Shehbaz Sharif, in Islamabad. The MPC was called by the MMA president who lost the elections. Maulana seemed angry and frustrated due to his electoral defeat in his constituency. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf got simple majority in KPK and whitewashed its rivals.

“Voters exercised their right to vote in a free and fair atmosphere… It is against the basic principles of democracy to disrespect the Pakistani people’s mandate without any reason, or for politically motivated reasons,” the ECP official said.

MPC rejected the General Election 2018 and demanded ‘free and fair’ re-election across the country.  “The All Parties Conference has completely rejected the July 25, 2018 elections with consensus,” announced Rehman while addressing the media after the PML-N-hosted conference concluded. “We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public,” said defeated MMA president.

Fafen expresses satisfaction over election process

Read more: What would count as valid or invalid vote: clarified by ECP

Some analysts in Pakistan and international media have termed G.E’18 as the dirtiest elections in the history of Pakistan. But the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) has expressed satisfaction over the July 25 election process. The independent watchdog has said the elections was free, fair and transparent. Although there were minor irregularities in the electoral process, yet the overall election was free and fair, and, hence, the results are “credible”.

Since the vanquished political parties and politicians have started blaming ECP for their defeat and termed the elections as “massively rigged”, the ECP has responded in a strong worded presser. Those who could not make their ways to the National Assembly of Pakistan have been urged to wait for their turn and respect the people’s mandate. It is against the basic principles pf democracy if the ‘losers’ make an alliance and challenge the writ of the state. The ECP is an independent body which has been constitutionally empowered to hold elections without being dictated from anyone.

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