ECP absolves itself from pre-poll violence

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In response to various statements by political parties regarding Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) responsibility to maintain law and order during the elections, the electoral body on Tuesday lashed out politicians who had been a part of the previous government, saying they did nothing to end the menace of terrorism in the country.

“This problem has been wreaking havoc for over a decade and obviously some preemptive remedial measures were required to be initiated and implemented in the past decade to provide security to life, property and honour of helpless people of Pakistan on permanent basis. Apparently nothing was done to achieve this goal so vital for smooth running of the state affairs,” said a statement issued by the ECP.

This statement came in response to criticism the electoral body had been facing from political parties which had been holding ECP responsible for the attack on election candidates.

The ECP statement said that the election watchdog and the caretaker government could plan for a short period of about 50 days whereas the menace of terrorism problem had been wreaking havoc for more than a decade.

In the statement, the ECP noted that only one serious effort was made by the parliamentary committee on national security which, after detailed deliberations spread over many months, submitted its recommendations to the parliament in 2009 in the form of a report. However, the ECP said that unfortunately, as has been the fate of all such reports, it was “conveniently shelved” and in spite of occasional demands made by some quarters to do something about the poor law and order situation, nothing came out of it.

Furthermore, the ECP said that the facts and figure of those killed and injured in terror-related activities were before the public and it was also true that nothing was done about it by the previous government to fix the menace of terrorism.

Moreover, the ECP said that ensuring security across the country was a collective effort that required cooperation and commitment from all quarters.

The ECP added that under the Constitution, the commission was responsible for holding elections and all executive authorities were bound to assist the commission to fulfill its constitutional duty.

For this purpose, the ECP said it had convened a meeting of all the four provincial governments and the federal government on January 2 to start preparing security plans for the elections. They were called again recently on April 25, 2013 to review the progress.

The ECP said that provincial and federal governments had shared their detailed security plans and assured the commission that all possible security measures would be adopted to provide security to the candidates, political leaders and all matters allied to the election activities.