Election watchdog denies pressure from any quarter

  • ECP secretary says all institutions, including military, judiciary, provincial govts cooperating for fair polls
  • Says action will be taken against three Allah-o-Akbar Party members allegedly involved in terrorism


ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said on Saturday that there was no pressure on the electoral body from any side and they have complete authority.

Briefing the media in the capital, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob said that the commission had complete powers and all the institutions were “cooperating” with them.

“The institutions are acting according to our instructions,” he said, adding, “All institutions are cooperating including the military, judiciary and provincial government[s].”

“I clearly state that we do not have pressure from any institution,” the ECP secretary told reporters during the press briefing.

Speaking further, Yaqoob said that the polling scheme for July 25 elections would also be issued on Google Map by Saturday night.

He said that all political parties were campaigning for the polls, adding, “Action is taken where the ECP’s code of conduct is not followed.”

The ECP secretary said that two letters were written to Punjab chief minister over complaints pertaining to the election campaign.

“No party has been restricted from campaigning,” he said, adding that the nation would be apprised of election results through the state TV.

Yaqoob further said that the preparations for elections were continuing in the right direction. “The process of printing and transportation of ballot papers has been completed. All material pertaining to the polls has been delivered to returning officers.”

He also said that the CCTV cameras had been installed at polling stations while an audit of postal ballot papers would be conducted.

On the request of the Ministry of Interior, the secretary said, the ECP had issued notices to three candidates, who were in the United Nations [watch] list.

Babar Yaqoob said that action will be taken against three Allah-o-Akbar Party members allegedly involved in terrorism.

He told reporters the names of the men had been provided by the United Nations. He said the top poll body would take action against any individual involved in crime. “Mere accusations, however, cannot constitute the basis for action.”

“Around 450,000 police personnel and 350,000 officer and soldiers of the army will perform security duties,” he detailed, adding that all personnel would be acting under a code of conduct issued by the ECP.

Yaqoob said that the presiding officers would be responsible for the start and end of polling process. “All the district returning officers (DROs) will have the powers of district and sessions judges.”

He maintained the ECP has decided the “rules of the game” pertaining to the elections. The ECP secretary said that international observers had also been briefed on the polls.

The ECP secretary said stationery had been dispatched to ROs nationwide. He acknowledged that some complaints had been received on this account. Arrangements have also been made for the visually impaired, he said.