- Political parties ask ECP to ensure level playing field for all contesting candidates
ISLAMABAD: The major political parties on Sunday underlined the need to build voters’ confidence for increased turnout in upcoming polls, urging the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to follow the code of conduct in true letter and spirit.
They expressed confidence that the ECP would provide a level playing field to all contesting candidates, besides ensuring the rule of law. “The ECP should work out a comprehensive plan to hold impartial election across the country,” said Raja Zafarul Haq, leader of the house in Senate.
“A delegation of the Pakistan Muslim League-N recently visited the ECP headquarters and asked for a level playing field for all political parties to dispel the impression of unnecessary obstacles in the way of politicians,” he said, adding that an impartial ECP can only build voters’ confidence and increase their turnover in the upcoming election.
Former Senate chairman and Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Farooq H Naik stressed that the ECP must adhere to the code of conduct issued by it to avoid rigging in the upcoming election. He said that the commission should introduce a system enabling the polling officers and returning officers to check the originality of the voters in order to discourage the common practice of bogus voting.
He suggested that the Computerised National Identity Cards must be checked properly and if a polling agent raises any objection, the matter must be resolved at the spot. Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Yasmeen Rashid, a candidate for NA-125, was of the view that the ECP must stand firm and call a spade a spade by punishing the wrongdoers.
She said that the ECP should also make some transfers and posting in the district administrations at the grassroots level, especially those who were likely to be appointed as the polling officers and agents as it reshuffled bureaucracy at federal and the provincial levels. She said that the interim government and the commission have to play pro-active role to avoid any kind of polls rigging,” she added.
ECP spokesperson Altaf Khan said that the holding of the election in a country considered to be the biggest logistic activity for which every stakeholder should come forward and play due role to ensure a free, fair and impartial election. The commission cannot go in every area for the redressal of complaints.
He said that the executive has to participate actively to conduct the electoral process in a transparent manner. He quoted the Article 220 of the constitution in this regard, which says, “It shall be the duty of all executive authorities in the federation and in the provinces to assist the commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of his or their functions.”
Enlightening about the pro-active approach of the commission to avoid the violation of the ECP’s rules and regulations regarding the electoral process, he said that the department had formed as many as 492 monitoring teams to check election campaign. Sharing details, he said that 297 teams had been formed in Punjab, 130 in Sindh, 99 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 51 in Balochistan, 12 in the tribal areas, and three in the federal capital.