Islamabad (July 10, 2018): Information Minister Barrister Ali Zafar has once again made it clear that the general elections will be held as per the schedule.
Talking to the media persons in Islamabad today (Tuesday), said it is the constitutional responsibility of the caretaker government to cooperate with the election commission of Pakistan for the smooth conduct of elections.When asked about the threats faced by the political leaders, the Minister said both the federal and provincial governments will provide necessary security to the political leaders.
To a question about the return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, the Information Minister pointed out that they will land in Lahore and responsibility rests with the provincial government to ensure law and order situation on that particular day.On the other hand, a meeting in connection with the security of the general elections was held in Islamabad on Monday with Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammad Azam Khan in the chair.
The Caretaker Minister said foolproof security will be ensured during the poll keeping in view the threats. He said full coordination should be provided to Election Commission of Pakistan in this regard.
Mohammad Azam Khan advised the political parties to avoid leveling personal allegations during the election campaign and cooperate with the government for security.On the other hand, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (R) Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan on Tuesday expressed his annoyance at the monetary impact of repeated changes in ballot papers due to high court’s rulings.
A five-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner was hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for the allotment of the party’s electoral symbol, tiger, to Maryam Nawaz’s covering candidates. PML-N lawyers had also filed a similar petition for NA-146 Pakpattan to Rana Zahid’s covering candidate, his son Rana Iradat, after the former was disqualified to contest polls from the constituency. Ali Pervaiz is contesting the polls from NA-127 constituency and Irfan Khokhar will represent PML-N from PP-173 constituency, following Maryam’s disqualification from contesting the polls by an accountability court.
As the hearing went under way, PML-N lawyers appeared before the bench to present their arguments. They contended that Subsection 3 of Election Act 2017’s Clause 4 dictates that the covering candidate is allotted the party’s electoral symbol.The lawyers informed the court that names of both covering candidates were written on Form 33 submitted to the ECP by Maryam from both constituencies. The pleaded the electoral body to review the Form 33 from both NA-127 and PP-173 constituencies.
“Till when will Form 33 be changed?” remarked a member of the Sindh division of ECP.
Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Khan remarked about the expense involved in the printing of ballot papers. “The printing of ballot papers commenced on July 1; watermarked ballot papers are very expensive. Why don’t the high courts consider the burden [of monetary expenditure] on the commission,” he stated.The CEC further noted that the printing process will not be completed if the trend of high court ruling continues. “If a few similar rulings are announced, we will run out of ballot papers,” he said.
The electoral body then reserves its verdict on the PML-N petition.
Later, the ECP-bench announced the verdict, accepting PML-N’s petition. The electoral body accepted PML-N’s request to review Form 33 from NA-127, PP-173, and NA-146.