The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other officials of the Election Commissions of Pakistan (ECP) would not be resigning on the government’s demands, a meeting of the body presided by the CEC decided on Friday.

The meeting further decided to give a response to the allegations by Prime Minister Imran and his cabinet members at “the appropriate time.”

The commission added that if the government has any objections with the chief election commissioner or other members of the ECP, it should approach the relevant forums.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been at odds with the ECP since the Senate elections of March 3, when opposition candidates won the majority of senate seats. The loss of government candidate Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh against Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, the joint candidate of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), at securing an important Islamabad seat also proved a setback for the ruling party.

The government alleges that the ECP failed to uphold the Supreme Court’s order advising the body to ensure transparent elections with the use of technology.

“It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to end corrupt practices from the electoral process and it can utilise technology in this regard,” said the apex court on March 1. The Supreme Court was opining on a presidential reference filed by the government for the use of open balloting in the senate elections. The court maintained that the polling take place through secret ballots.

Following the result of the elections, Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the ECP of contributing to the decay of democracy in the country by not preventing rigging in the Senate elections.

In response, the ECP issued a strong rebuttal maintaining that the Senate elections had been held as ordained under the Constitution and so criticism levelled against the body was unwarranted.

The government has since been calling for the resignation of ECP members for its failure to follow court orders and retain the confidence of all political parties.

While the Constitution of Pakistan allows the ruling and opposition parties to select a chief election commissioner for five years after consultation, it does not allow them to remove a commissioner on their own.

Per Article 215, Clause 2 of the Constitution, the chief election commissioner can not be removed from office except in the manner prescribed in Article 209 for the removal from office of a judge.


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