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CEC acting as Opposition’s mouthpiece: Fawad Chaudhry

Govt to call joint session of parliament. (Source: Tribune)

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has lambasted Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), saying that the commission has become the “headquarters” for Opposition and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) “is acting as their mouthpiece”.

The federal government has decided to call a joint session of parliament on the electoral reforms on Monday after Senate Parliamentary Affairs Committee rejected a proposal regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and i-voting in the next general elections.  

Addressing a press conference, Fawad Chaudhry, who was flanked with Railways Minister Azam Swati and Adviser Babar Awan, said that no one was satisfied with the electoral body because “it comes up with strange logic.”

He further said the PTI-led government had promised to make the ECP free, fair, and transparent, and to that end, a commission for reforms was also formed. However, the ECP remains surrounded by controversies due to its “strange logic.”

The minister said the PTI government had asked the Opposition to come forward and participate in discussions related to electoral reforms. “The government wanted to incorporate technology in the electoral process to ensure transparency, however, it seems like the ECP has become the headquarters for Opposition,” he added.

“The chief election commissioner is in close contact with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif,” alleged Fawad, adding that the party leaders were trying to get legal amendments passed so that the use of EVMs could be declared controversial.

He said that the chief election commissioner should “either take a look at his behaviour or join politics.” “You better not become a tool used by small political parties,” Fawad told the chief election commissioner.

Taking over the presser, Senator Babar Awan asserted that the bill on electoral reforms was passed in the National Assembly after eight months but the Opposition did not present a single suggestion throughout this period.

“The Opposition has become the enemy of electoral reforms as they want to maintain the status quo,” Awan said, adding, “It is for the first time in history that the Senate committee bulldozed the government’s legislation.”

“We have now decided to take the bill to the joint session of the Parliament on September 13 and will convene a National Assembly session a day after that,” he concluded.