‘Khan responsible for Bhagwandas’ rejection of CEC nomination’


Info minister urges PTI to come forward for talks with govt, alleges that PTI sit-in has caused economic losses

Censuring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for tainting the post of the top election officer, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said Sunday that Justice (r) Rana Bhagwandas rejected the nomination of the new chief election commissioner (CEC) to evade the PTI chief’s ire.

Addressing media in Lahore after paying homage to the national poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Rashid said that even though the reasons for Bhagwandas refusal were unclear, no respectable person would take the post after the way Khan had ridiculed the outgoing CEC.

“All stakeholders, including Khan, agreed on the appointment of Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim for the post of CEC during the 2013 General Elections but later Khan claimed he (Ebrahim) was responsible for rigging,” Rashid said lashing out at the PTI chief.

Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif had directed Rashid on November 7 to inform and consult various heads of political parties regarding the appointment of the new CEC.

According to an official statement, Rashid on Friday contacted six political parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders Haider Abbas Rizvi and Babar Ghauri, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader Fazlur Rehman, Jamaat Islami Amir Sirajul Haq, National Party Leader Hasil Bazinjo, Awami National Party’s Haji Adeel and Qaumi Watan Party head Aftab Ahmed Sherpao.

However, the feedback that the government has received so far from political parties suggests that none of the proposed names are feasible with at least one party having reservations against the proposed candidates and Bhagwandas, whose name the government and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had both suggested for the vacant post, declined the offer.


Shifting his focus to energy projects, Rashid did not reserve his criticism for the ongoing PTI sit-in in the federal capital in this regard either and alleged that the protests had damaged the country’s economy.

“PTI’s sit-in would be responsible if there are any delays in the completion of the projects and provision of electricity,” Rashid said referring to government’s efforts to overcome the electricity crisis.

“The sit-ins not only negatively affected the economy but acted as a hindrance in foreign investment,” he added.

“We never ended dialogue, in fact the government started them,” said Rashid referring to the deadlock in negotiations between the PTI and the government.

“I request PTI to resume dialogue again,” he urged, adding that Khan must now release his negotiation team from handcuffs.

Responding to a question regarding the presence of Islamic State (IS) militants in Pakistan, Rashid denied having any knowledge of the footprints of the militant group in the country.

“If any militant group, under whatever name, tries to create terrorism in the country, they will be dealt in the same way as militants in North Waziristan.”

Terrorists will not be spared and government is not frightened of them, said the minister.

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