The opposition has slammed the PTI-led government on the proposed use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) saying the move is a “conspiracy” to steal the next general elections and make the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) “controversial”.
Responding to federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Shibli Faraz press conference, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said on Sunday that “the federal ministers have lost their temper after the notices of the election commission.”
“Earlier the ECP was threatened to be set on fire by a sitting federal minister and now an organised campaign is being launched to make the constitutional body controversial.”
Last week, Railways Minister Azam Swati lambasted the ECP during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, accusing it of taking bribes to rig elections and saying that such institutions should be “set on fire”.
His claims were backed by Fawad who later in the day termed the chief election commissioner a “mouthpiece for the opposition”.
Khokhar said the federal government was trying to “tarnish the image of the ECP in order to rig the next general elections.”
He said the CEC had refused to accept “government’s pressure” on NA-75 Daska constituency by-polls.
“The ECP stood against attempt to rig Daska polls and suspended police and administration officers,” he said.
“The CEC is trying to restore the credibility of the ECP while the federal government wants to control [the election supervisor].”
In February, by-polls in Daska were declared null and void after the ECP ordered a re-election in the constituency on the suspicions that the results may have been falsified. The ruling PTI had claimed victory in the polls. In April, PML-N was declared winner in the re-election.
Khokhar said the ministers were accusing the CEC to “isolate” him and make his position controversial. “However, he was nominated by PTI leadership in the past for this position.”
“All opposition parties, lawyers, journalists and other stakeholders should stand with the election commission for rule of law, supremacy of constitution and transparent elections,” Khokhar concluded.
PML-N: Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Marriyum Aurangzeb also criticised ministers for their statements against the ECP.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal tweeted that the government “ministers are trying to blackmail the ECP by giving aggressive statements so that they can have a decision of their choice in the Daska rigging case and the foreign funding case.”
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded “strong punitive action against the PTI federal ministers for attempting to blackmail the ECP and inciting the members of the electoral supervisor against the CEC.”
“The government is trying to push the ECP to not issue the report exposing the truth about the Daska election theft. The anger over the results of cantonment polls is being vented on the ECP on the order of [PM] Imran,” she said in a statement.