Govt expresses displeasure over ECP reply to PM Imran Khan


ISLAMABAD: The federal ministers on Friday expressed their disapproval of the way the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released a press release to respond to Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that the government is “unhappy” with the way the commission dealt with the matter.

The Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry,  along with Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Senator-elect Barrister Ali Zafar, was speaking to the media after the ECP fired back on PM Imran’s allegation of corruption in Senate elections.

The science and technology minister clarified that the prime minister and the PTI respect the Election Commission and all the institutions of Pakistan.

“There is no [truth] to the rumour that PTI will be protesting in front of the ECP tomorrow. ECP is revered by us and will remain so,” said Chaudhry.

The minister, however, stated that the institutions show their “independence through their actions and not through press releases”.

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“It is irresponsible to issue a press release on Prime Minister’s stance,” said the minister.

The lawmaker from Jhelum clarified that PM Imran Khan, in his statement, said that the responsibility to make elections free and fair was not fulfilled in the Senate elections held on Wednesday. “This is not a thing to be upset about, but measures need to be taken.”

He stated that PM Imran meant that the government and the ECP should work together to “develop a mechanism that will stop rigging” and ensure free and fair elections.

“I want to assure the chief election commissioner (CEC) and members that we want to see you strong,” said Chaudhry.

‘Shocked’ over ECP asking PTI for evidence

The minister said he is “shocked” over the ECP which said that the PTI should come forward with “evidence.”

He said that the evidence was there in the form of “videos of vote-buying, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Shah’s audio, and Maryam Nawaz’s speech.”

The minister hoped that the ECP will “reviews its stance and not rely on press releases”. He added that he rather expected the ECP to “prove its independence through its actions”.

“From Daska elections till Senate elections you have to realise that there have been shortcomings and it cannot be said that all that has happened is correct,” said Chaudhry, adding that if the ECP requires the government’s help, then it is “available 24/7”.

Vote of confidence against PM

The federal minister also spoke about the vote of confidence sought by PM Imran Khan on Saturday’s session.

“As far as a vote of confidence is concerned, our 177 members have arrived in Islamabad,” said Chaudhry, adding that the parliamentary party meeting held today will be attended by the members as well.

He repeated that this was not the “first challenge for PM Imran Khan”.

“He has been taking Pakistan out of challenges all his life, be it sports, health or politics. Tomorrow, PTI and its allies will give a vote of confidence to PM Imran Khan,” said Chaudhry.

Before Fawad Chaudhry, Information Minister Shibli Faraz stated that the PM spoke about the “most important issue” facing the country in his speech which was “free and fair elections”.

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“Elections are the foundation of democracy. And when the foundation is correct, then the building will also be fine,” said Faraz.

He also spoke about the Opposition, alleging that it introduced the money culture and eroded the moral fabric of the country. He blamed the main Opposition parties, the PPP and PML-N, for it.

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