Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Friday termed opposition leaders ‘mental dwarfs’ lacking ability to think beyond their personal interests.
Addressing a news conference, he said the opposition leaders were adroit in prolonging cases by seeking frequent adjournments in their corruption cases. They were insular persons and one could not any good from them, he added.
Flanked by Minister for Railways Muhammad Azam Khan Swati and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Zaheer-ud-Din Babar Awan, Fawad said the opposition should know that strengthening parliament would eventually strengthen the people of Pakistan.
He said the opposition especially former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his cohorts were trying to make constitutional amendments relating to the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general election controversial.
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The minister said the opposition used to clamoring about rigged polls after losing every election and obviously, it seemed that no party was satisfied with the electoral system.
However, the party which stressed over giving ‘respect to vote’ did not cooperate with the government on electoral reforms and always came up with a deal whenever asked for the initiative, he added.
Referring to the internal rifts within the multiparty opposition alliance—Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), he mocked the opposition for washing its dirty linen in public.
He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman was criticizing the Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman, while Bilawal Zardari reciprocating by criticizing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The current members of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are corrupt & getting cash from PMLN & PPP mafias to keep the outdated paper ballot system for rigging & stop necessary electoral reforms like Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to have free, fair & transparent elections
— Dr. Sana K (@Dr_Sana_K) September 10, 2021
Fawad said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came into the power and started to fulfill his one of the most important promise of introducing election reforms in the country.
The government proposed the reforms after studying election systems of various countries and came to a conclusion that the introduction of technology was the panacea to end all the controversies regarding the election for once and all, he added.
The functions of the ECP had already been explained by former Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, the head of Judicial Commission constituted to suggest election reforms following the protests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on outcomes of the general election 2013 and its demand of opening results of only four constituencies.
According to the former Chief Justice, Fawad said the ECP’s functions essentially were to organize and conduct the elections impartially, honestly, justly and in accordance with the law.
He said the right to formulate laws was exclusively rested with the Parliament and it was not the prerogative of ECP. No country could ever allow violation of the sanctity of its parliament because the voice of public in fact emanated from this forum, he added.
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Fawad said Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing parliament in 2013 congratulated the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and demanded the opening results of only four constituencies.
Nobody paid heed to demands of Imran Khan. Resultantly a movement was started against rigging to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country, he added.
Fawad said the government had no objection if the CEC had any personal sympathy with Nawaz Sharif as obviously he had remained in close contact with the former prime minister in past, but, he added, let it be clear that whether it was the ECC or any institution, it would have to follow the acts passed by Parliament.
Nobody would be allowed to undermine the Parliament’s supremacy, he said, adding that if ECP had any objection to the use of technology and any improvement in the system they should share with the government.
He asked the CEC to present himself as ahead of the state institution instead of issuing directions instructions to different organizations with regard to the EVMs.
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The CEC should forthwith stop politicking while being head of the ECP, he said, adding if he had an interest in politics then he should leave the post and contest the election for entering into the political arena.
The minister said the logic of ECP that the Parliament had no right to guide it on electoral procedure was ‘unfair’ as Article 218 of the constitution itself stated that the polls would be held in accordance with the law.