SC tells ECP to complete correct electoral rolls by February 23


Expressing dissatisfaction over the performance of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a three-member Supreme Court bench directed it on Wednesday to positively complete the preparation of transparent electoral rolls by February 23, 2012.
The court also issued notices to 28 members of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies elected in by-elections when the ECP was incomplete under the provisions of the 18th Amendment, directing them to file their replies by January 10. The court made it clear to the ECP that the deadline set for preparation of new electoral rolls would not be extended at any cost. The court told the commission to submit to the Registrar Office fortnightly reports over the progress on preparation of new electoral rolls. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, was hearing a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan seeking preparation of electoral rolls after the elimination of 37 million bogus votes.
The court also clubbed a pending petition of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto filed in 2007 over the same matter with the petition of Imran Khan, despite the fact that no one had turned up to pursue the late premier’s plea. The chief justice said now notices would also be issued to the secretary general of the Pakistan People’s Party. The chief justice pointed out that in response to Benazir’s petition, the ECP was directed to complete preparation of transparent electoral rolls within a month, however four years had lapsed since that elections but the electoral rolls were still incomplete. He said if the forthcoming elections were held with the old electoral rolls carrying 44 percent (37 million) bogus votes, there would be bloodshed, for which the ECP would solely be responsible. The court rejected a report of the ECP and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) mentioning reasons for delay in preparation of electoral rolls, as unsatisfactory. The report stated that the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had passed resolutions about delays in preparation of voter lists because of flash floods and fragile law and order. The court noted that no such resolution was passed by the Sindh Assembly. The chief justice said the floods had hit only six district of Sindh, and Swat was now peaceful.


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