Pakistan's election commission has convened a crucial meeting on Friday after Prime Minister Imran Khan accused it of discrediting democracy and damaging the morality of the nation, according to media reports. Prime Minister Khan, in a televised address to the country on Thursday, lashed out at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which he said failed to stop corruption in Wednesday's closely-contested Senate elections.
"You (ECP) discredited democracyyou damaged the morality of the nation by doing nothing to stop vote-buying," he alleged. "You allowed corruption to occur at the top, and this happened right before you, and you knew it would happen. I kept saying that markets have opened and there is an auction going on. And when the Supreme Court gave you a chance, what reason was there to not bar code a mere 1,500 ballots?" Khan said.
Khan's criticism of the ECP came after Opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani defeated ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf: candidate Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday, in a major blow to the Prime Minister who personally campaigned for his Cabinet colleague. According to a report in the Geo TV, ECP convened the meeting to review the statements of Prime Minister Khan, who had levelled serious allegations on its role during the Senate polls. All members of the ECP will attend the meeting.
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja summoned the meeting after the ECP members asked him for the same to discuss the highly objectionable comments made by Prime Minister Khan, the Dawn newspaper reported. The government should amend the Constitution, if it wants open voting for Senate elections, but should not expect from the Commission to do the job of legislature, a senior official of the ECP was quoted as saying in the report.
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Senate elections would be held through a secret ballot, amid a raging controversy among the government and Opposition parties about allowing an open vote to avoid corruption. According to the official, the ECP is bound to follow the law which provides for a secret ballot and any hasty attempt to make the votes traceable would have been a violation of the Constitution, the report said.
The official said that the prime minister instead of taking note of the uncalled for remarks made by members of his Cabinet chose to join the blame game, it said. Under mounting pressure from the Opposition to resign, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he will seek a vote of confidence on Saturday, in a bid to restore the legitimacy of his government after an embarrassing defeat of the finance minister in the hotly-contested Senate elections.
He also accused the grand Opposition alliance for "making a mockery of democracy" and said that he will never let the corrupt politicians off the hook.