Opposition calls for action against PM Imran Khan after ECP comments

March 5, 2021 10:12 pm by Web Desk

PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on March 05, 2021. — YouTube screengrab
  • Opposition says PM Imran Khan angry with ECP after setback in Senate elections.
  • PPP says allegations against ECP for “shielding criminals” and “undermining democracy” are worrisome.
  • PML-N, slamming the prime minister, says power “lent to him” was never meant to be given to him. 

ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said Friday that action should be taken against Prime Minister Imran Khan as he has insulted the Election Commission of Pakistan and has also “dragged army into politics.”

Addressing a press conference with party leaders in Islamabad, Maryam said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did not give a personal opinion in the Supreme Court’s presidential reference hearing.

“The election commission gave its opinion under the Constitution, and neither the ECP has the power to amend the Constitution nor does the Supreme Court,” she said.

Maryam said the ECP had taken a rightful position during the apex court’s hearing, adding that now, “even the institutions know who is ridiculing them.”

“[Even] the president of Pakistan has admitted that PM Imran Khan has lost confidence,” Maryam said.

Will not come under any sort of pressure: ECP responds to PM Imran Khan’s criticism

The PML-N leader claimed that Senate election tickets in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were sold for billions of rupees. However, despite winning in both the provinces, the government cried foul over their loss in Islamabad — where PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gilani defeated Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh.

Maryam said the president has “acknowledged what the nation understood” in the recent by-elections. “Even though he was late to understand this, I congratulate the president for understanding the situation.”

‘No moral justification’

Meanwhile, the newly-elected PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said the prime minister has “violated the Election Commission Act by insulting an institution.”

Rehman said the allegations against the election commission for “shielding criminals” and undermining democracy are worrisome.

Taking a jibe at the government, the PPP leader said after the Daska by-election, it had no moral justification to point fingers at the election commission.

‘Power lent to you is not yours’

Similarly, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the premier was venting his anger out at the election commission as he has lost the confidence of the Parliament.

Read more: PM Imran Khan vows to never let the corrupt off the hook, whether in power or not

“Power lent to you is not yours,” she said.

The PML-N spokesperson asked the government not to “enslave” lawmakers through coercion, bullying, rigging, and pressure. “Flour, sugar, electricity, gas, medicine, and vote thieves have lost the trust of the people.”

‘Will not come under any sort of pressure’

Earlier in the day, the election commission expressed disappointment over the premier’s hard-hitting speech and statements from a few cabinet members, stressing that the Senate elections were held according to the law and Constitution.

In a written statement, the commission said that it has “never come under any sort of pressure and God willing, will not in future as well”.

“We cannot ignore the law and the Constitution to please anyone,” said the ECP in its statement.

‘ECP provided an opportunity for democracy to be discredited’

A day earlier, 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 had said to the ECP.

“Why did you go to the court and say there should be a secret ballot? Does the constitution ever allow 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”.

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