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EditorialPTI's tussle with CEC

PTI’s tussle with CEC

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has made a fresh demand for the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja after the surfacing of audio leaks allegedly featuring conversations of key leadership in the coalition government. According to the PTI chief, audio leaks testify his claim of alleged collusion between the CEC and the Sharif family. He has held the CEC responsible for not okaying the use of Electronic Voting Machines for the upcoming general elections.

In fact, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his party leaders have assumed an attitude of no compromise over the continuation of the incumbent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The PTI is repeatedly making a demand for the dismantling of the current CEC office, which according to the former has become controversial. After the passage of a resolution against the CEC at the Punjab Assembly, now the PTI is planning to file a reference against Mr. Sikandar Sultan Raja for meeting leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the coalition that rules at the Centre. Despite the fact that the PTI secured a major victory in the recent by-elections, which were held under the supervision of current office holders of the CEC, there is an air of mistrust on part of the former. It is argued that the basis for opposition by the PTI is the foreign funding case, whose verdict has been reserved by the CEC.

Once again, an institution has been facing backlash from a political party. Repeated attacks on constitutional institutions do not augur well for the future of democracy in the country. Earlier, it was the PML-N that had spearheaded a campaign against the Supreme Court and now the PTI has been accusing the CEC of colluding with the incumbent government. Interestingly, the PTI Chairman had himself nominated Mr. Sikandar Sultan for the coveted position of the CEC in his previous tenure when he was the Prime Minister and now he is demanding Mr. Sultan’s removal. According to the law, the CEC enjoys the status equal to a Supreme Court judge; therefore, he can only be removed after the filing of a reference in the Supreme Judicial Council that also needs solid proof.

The current situation can lead to another deadlock over the election process due to the stubborn attitude of Mr. Khan, who continues to harbour his preconceived notion that transparent elections are not possible under the current CEC. The contradictory nature of Imran’s policies and his impulsive nature have made his credibility doubtful. It seems he is a victim of his enormous ego and stubborn attitude, which are mainly responsible for the troubles he is facing now.

Amid this political chaos, it is a good sign that he is abandoning the politics of the container and has asked his party members to raise the issue in their respective provincial assemblies. The matter needs to be resolved through dialogue and at the proper platform. If the PTI has certain reservations, it should present proof of allegations. Building pressure on institutions over sheer allegations is not in the interest of the country.

It is also the responsibility of the Chief Election Commissioner to improve the election process and clear it of all anomalies. Moreover, it is in the best interests of Imran and the country that he should get rid of his impulsive nature and stubborn attitude. After forming provincial governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, the PTI has an opportunity to win the masses’ trust. This therefore is the right time for Imran to demonstrate some responsibility. He has been provided with a chance again. If he changes the fate of the people of KP and Punjab through good governance, the whole country will turn to him in the upcoming general elections. He should give up his stance in the larger national interest and resolve this matter politically. The PTI chief and other elected members should try to resolve all problems in parliament, which is the right platform for the resolution of all issues democratically.

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