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ISLAMABAD: Despite reservations shown by the ruling PPP against the involvement of the judiciary in the general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan is moving a step forward to ensure free, fair and transparent elections by asking the Pakistan Army’s help.
After getting the judiciary’s unflinching institutional support, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would now seek the backing of the Pakistan Army and other law enforcing agencies to ensure fair and free elections in a peaceful and independent atmosphere.
While the Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim is all praise for the chief justice and National Judicial Policymaking Committee for honouring the ECP’s request to ensure fair and free election with the support of the judiciary, the secretary ECP said that now the next challenge was to seek the assistance of Army and other law enforcing agencies to maintain peace during the next elections.
Fakhru Bhai said that he was thankful to the CJP as well as the committee for this. He stated that he would soon formally write a letter to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to show his and the commission’s gratitude for providing the services of judicial officers for their appointment as district returning officers in the next elections.
His Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said that the next month the ECP would convene a meeting of federal and provincial authorities, including secretaries of Defence ministry, Interior, SAFRON, provincial home secretaries, chief secretaries and police chiefs, DGs of FCs and Rangers, chief commissioner and IG Islamabad, secretary Fata, etc, to get their assistance for peaceful holding of fair and free elections.
He said that the Pakistan Army would be involved in the election process and for security arrangements.
He hoped that like the judiciary, all the other federal and provincial departments would offer their complete support to the ECP to hold elections fairly, freely and in a peaceful and independent atmosphere.
The secretary ECP said that the commission wants credible elections for which it needs the support of all, including the media and political parties.
Top bosses of the Election Commission believe that the institutional support offered by the judiciary to the ECP is vital to get similar support from other institutions but they are reluctant to offer any comment at this stage about the controversial and partisan role of the president in favour of one particular party the ruling PPP.
However, it is believed that in the coming weeks and months, the ECP might issue a warning to the president in view of the code of conduct recently issued by the commission.
The ECP code of conduct for the first time included the president in the list of public office holders like prime minister,