Wednesday Nov 03 2021
Web Desk

PM Imran Khan provoking ministers to frontally attack ECP, Shahbaz alleges

Web Desk
PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif. — AFP/File
PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif. — AFP/File

  • Shahbaz Sharif says PM Imran Khan "cannot be allowed to browbeat our institutions into submission".
  • PM Imran Khan had asked federal ministers to back Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati during their ECP hearings.
  • Chaudhry and Swati had levelled corruption allegations against ECP and the chief election commissioner. 

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan is provoking federal ministers to "frontally attack" the election commission.

Reports recently surfaced of the premier asking his ministers to back Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Railways Azam Swati who were served notices by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after they levelled serious allegations against the constitutional body.

"Imran Khan's advice to his ministers to 'support' two of their cabinet colleagues is a provocation to frontally attack Election Commission," the PML-N president said.

"He is targeting ECP at a time of massive internal and external challenges. He cannot be allowed to browbeat our institutions into submission," Shahbaz added.

In a cabinet meeting yesterday, the prime minister, according to sources, told federal ministers to support Chaudhry and Swati and asked them to visit the election commission along with the federal ministers when they are summoned by the body.

The allegations

Swati had accused the ECP of taking money from companies that make electronic voting machines during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee for Parliamentary Affairs on September 10.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry had said that the ECP has "become the headquarters for Opposition parties" and the chief election commissioner is "acting as their mouthpiece", during a press conference the same day.

The hearings

The ECP served notices to Chaudhry and Swati on September 16, seeking explanations within a week from both the ministers for accusations against CEC Sikander Sultan Raja and the commission.

However, both the ministers, on September 23, requested an extension from the ECP to submit their replies.

Later, on September 28, the ECP granted the federal ministers more time to submit their replies regarding the allegations they had levelled.

In a hearing of the case on October 27, the ECP issued new show-cause notices to Swati and Chaudhry.

A two-member bench comprising ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Mohammad Jatoi heard the case in Islamabad.

The ECP officials, during the hearing, said that this is the second notice given to Swati.

Swati has been sent two show-cause notices — one with Chaudhry and the other with Adviser to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.

The hearing of the case against Swati was adjourned till November 16.

Meanwhile, no lawyer appeared before the ECP on behalf of Chaudhry.

The ECP officials directed the issuance of show-cause notices to Chaudhry as well and adjourned the hearing against him till November 16.