ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has demanded an immediate dissolution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and its reconstitution to purge the electoral process of every kind of foul play for the conduct of free and fair elections in the future.
Addressing a gigantic public rally in Islamabad on Sunday, held in protest against alleged rigging in May 2013 general polls one year after their conduct, Imran voiced mistrust in the ECP and accused it of having a direct hand in the polls rigging. “If our demands are not met we would launch a mega campaign against the present system in search of justice,” he cautioned. Imran Khan also presented a “Charter of Demands” during the occasion. The nine-point Charter states, “We demand the present election commissioners resign immediately as they have lost the confidence of the nation. The system of the selection of chairman and members of the ECP should be changed to ensure the ECP functions as a truly independent body as guaranteed in the constitution.”
The charter demands an immediate verification of thumbprints in the four constituencies identified by PTI, asking the process to be concluded within two weeks. It says, “We demand that all perpetrators found guilty of or complicit in rigging in the 2013 elections must be brought to justice – from the identified ROs (returning officers) and presiding officers to those identified as having cast multiple votes. We demand that for future elections all ROs must be legally accountable to the ECP, as stated in the constitution, for their performance in conduct of elections.”
The party, in the charter, has demanded post-election appeals to be held in the time stipulated - 120 days - by law, and those not complying held accountable. It says that all future elections must be held under biometric system and EVMs (electronic voting machines) must be introduced for the voting with a paper trail. The charter states, “As a step towards genuine neutral caretakers, they must not be permitted to hold any public office for two years after their serving as caretakers. That the SC decisions of giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote must immediately be implemented. We invite all parties who want electoral reforms to form a committee with PTI and come up with a comprehensive electoral reform package for Parliament to pass.”
The PTI chairman termed the poll rigging a major hurdle in the way of “democracy” and added that the present rulers of Pakistan flourished under the cover of “dictatorship” and they are even unfamiliar with the power of the political workers. He criticised the federal and provincial governments while alleging that they made every possible effort to sabotage the PTI “protest jalsa”. Imran Khan said “lie has no leg to stand upon”, and the present set-up is afraid of from thumbprints’ verification in only four constituencies that indicates they are governing the country with “stolen mandate of the masses”. He demanded the present government speak the truth and not fool the nation.
Imran questioned how could a person elected through poll rigging be expected to serve the country with honesty and integrity. He lauded party member Asad Umar’s initiative to move the Supreme Court against the metro bus project, while quoting the Asian Development Bank report which suggests that the project could be completed at an estimated of Rs 4 billion, as against Rs 24 billion being incurred on it. “Asad Umar, you are doing a great service to the nation,” he remarked. The PTI chief said despite retiring a circular debt of Rs 560 billion, the entire country was suffering power outages. He added that the new circular debt has risen to Rs 300 billion. “Where has all the money of the nation gone? The load shedding is still there and nothing has changed in this regard,” Imran asked.
He said the menace of unemployment could not be eradicated without foreign investment. “How would our rulers invest here (in the country) when their bank accounts are in foreign countries?” he asked in a highly emotional tone.
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