News Analysis |
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has managed to assert itself as a strong institution in wake of countless attacks alleging it to be a compromised institution.
In a major development today, ECP has accepted the apologies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervez Khattak and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman for using indecent language during their election campaigns.
A four-member ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza announced its reserved verdicts in the respective cases. ECP accepted the apologies of the political leaders in different cases of foul language and violation of ECP’s code of conduct. It warned the four leaders in question not to use derogatory language in the future. All four of them had put forward their separate apologies to the ECP.
Among those did not comply by the ECP’s code of conduct, Sadiq’s case was not this straightforward, but the commission has shown leniency by accepting the apology of the current speaker national assembly.
After the RTS controversy on Election Day, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had accused the ECP of bias against PML-N and termed its attitude regrettable. In a press talk outside the ECP premises, Sadiq alleged that Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan did not even respond to his call and left his office without meeting PML-N leaders. ECP spokesperson rejected PML-N claims and eventually, Sadiq had to tender an apology.
Former KP CM Khattak appeared before the ECP bench to face the charges. ECP had initiated the proceedings against PTI leader for uttering abusive and derogatory remarks against other political parties. Khattak had apologized for his remarks against the workers of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). While addressing a crowd in Nowshera, Khattak used offensive language against supporters of PPP. Khattak issued a video message where he unconditionally apologized for his behavior. A video clip showing Khattak apologizing for his remarks was also played as the verdict was reserved.
PTI Chairman and PM in waiting, Imran Khan was also served a notice for indecent remarks made in a rally-where he termed those going to welcome former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on his arrival from London as donkeys. Khan had submitted a written apology last month over his behavior. ECP accepted his apology and quashed the case against him.
ECP accepted the apologies of the political leaders in different cases of foul language and violation of ECP’s code of conduct. It warned the four leaders in question to not to use derogatory language in the future.
However, PTI chairman’s apology in the secrecy of ballot case was rejected as it did not contain the signature of Imran Khan. Imran is accused of deliberately showing his vote in public while casting the vote in the NA-53 constituency. The TV cameras had caught him stamping the ballot on the table of presiding officer-who did not raise any objection over the blatant violation. After rejecting his written plea, ECP bench directed Imran’s counsel Babar Awan to submit the response with the signature of PTI chairman on Friday.
ECP has shown its mettle and did not bow against the ganging style of the political elite in Pakistan-where they openly threaten the independent institutions. Among those who did not comply with the ECP’s code of conduct, Sadiq’s case was not this straightforward, but the commission has shown leniency by accepting the apology of the current speaker national assembly. It’s a welcome move from ECP to follow the legal course and never compromise over the threats of politicians.