ECP begins scrutiny of candidates today
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission is meeting on Wednesday to work out a mechanism for implementation of clauses in the Constitution relating to qualification and disqualification in order to effectively screen out holders of dual nationality and other ineligible candidates from the electoral process.
The main objective, an ECP official said, was to keep violators of law out of legislatures. The meeting will also consider some ‘necessary’ change in the forms for filing nomination papers.
The commission will also discuss the government’s plea for lifting a ban imposed by it last month on recruitments in all government departments. The government opposed the ban and said the ECP could take such decisions only after announcement of the election schedule.
But the ECP says Article 218 of the Constitution empowers it to take steps to ensure free and fair elections. The issue was raised by a government team which urged the ECP to withdraw the ban on recruitment as well as on diversion of allocated development funds.
The ECP had told the government team led by Law Minister Farooq H. Naek to make a written submission. The government has formally made a request to the effect.
The ECP official said the commission might allow some essential inductions on a case-to-case basis but was unlikely to reverse the decision taken after the ‘jobs for employment’ issue had come into limelight. He pointed out that the ECP had observed in its notification that large-scale recruitment had the potential to influence election results.
The commission had taken notice of violation of its directive last week and sought an explanation from the cabinet secretary, railways secretary and the Sindh chief secretary.
The commission will discuss in detail its preparations for holding the election.
The verification of voters’ lists and delimitation of constituencies in Karachi will also be examined.
The official said demands made by 13 opposition parties in this regard would also be discussed.
The commission will meet representatives of opposition parties on Thursday to discuss concerns raised by them in a charter of demands.
The parties, led by the Pakistan Muslim League-N, had held a token sit-in and a march to express solidarity with the commission and to press their demands, including resignation of governors and transfer of all high-level officers in the federal and provincial government as soon as the caretaker set-up was put in place.
Meanwhile, the ECP issued notices to over 20 members of the Punjab assembly against whom former ambassador Asif Ezdi had filed a disqualification reference for holding dual nationality. They have been asked to appear before the commission on Thursday to explain their position.