SC authorizes ECP to hold free and fair elections

ISLAMABAD: A three member Supreme Court bench on Wednesday ordered that the Election Commission of Pakistan ECP will be authorized to hold free and fair elections, as it had the trust and support of over 180 million people of the country.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed, while hearing pleas seeking electoral forms, observed that the government should not have any objections over stopping corruption and corrupt practices from the electoral process.

The court noted that the federal government had reservations over the monitoring of election campaigns; despite monitoring was the result of the court’s June 8, 2012 decision. The court asked the federal government to inform it by today Thursday about its reservations, besides clarifying that why it had not approved the requests of the ECP with regard to holding free and fairs elections.

The court ordered the federal government to also submit by today Thursday a comprehensive report over the steps so far taken to implement the court’s June 8, 2012 verdict for holding free and fair elections.

The court said the federal government had not answered what steps it had taken for holding transparent elections; despite it was pivotal that representatives were elected in a transparent manner. The chief justice noted that the interim setup will be in place in the next two three days and it was positive that the constitution would be implemented automatically.

The court directed the ECP to file its comprehensive reply over the arrangements being made for holding the transparent elections. The court noted that since the elections were ahead thus there should be no delay in necessary constitutional and administrative arrangements. The ECP presented a report over electoral amendments for electoral reforms in light of the court orders.

Addressing the additional director general of the Law Commission, the chief justice said that court’s decision related to electoral reforms had become a law, adding that if there was any hurdle in implementation of the verdict, it should be explained.

The court directed the ECP to divide in two parts the details it submitted before the court. Deputy Attorney General Dil Muhammadzai stated that the amendments under the electoral reforms needed parliament’s approval. The chief justice then noted that the elections were ahead, thus the matter could not be delayed for indefinite period. He said ECP had a trust of 180 million people for elections, adding that thank God there was democracy in the country.

ECP’s counsel Muhammad Munir Peracha stated that the government had objections over the proposal of law commission about supervising teams for monitoring the code of conduct. The chief justice said it was being done on court orders. “Doesn’t the government want to obey the court orders’, the chief justice inquired. The court again asked the ECP not to show any weakness in holding the general election and ensuring that it was free from all kinds of malaise. Later, the court adjourned the hearing for today Thursday.