Tuesday, November 14, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has dismissed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) claims that the watchdog was appointing retired officers as district returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs) for the February 8 elections as baseless and contrary to the facts, reported The News on Tuesday.
The ECP Media Coordination and Outreach Wing, in a statement issued on Monday, maintained that the watchdog is yet to take any such decision.
“All media reports regarding the appointment of District Returning Officers/ Returning Officers are baseless and contrary to the facts. The media ran misleading news about the appointment of retired officers as District Returning Officers/Returning Officers. The commission is yet to take any such decision,” the ECP spokesperson said.
He explained the ECP has written letters to the provincial election commissioners to share lists of of DROs and ROs so that updated lists can be finalised. This is an ongoing process in which the ECP considers the appointment of DROs and ROs very important to ensure free, fair and impartial general elections.
“It is being looked at from different angles so that the general elections are fair and transparent. The Election Commission is well aware of all its constitutional responsibilities,” the Election Commission said.
The ECP issued a statement after PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub, in a post on X, had alleged that the retired officers were being appointed as DROs and ROs for pre-poll rigging.
Separately, the PTI’s Core Committee warned that the people will resist if their election mandate was stolen.
In its meeting, the core committee emphasised that the ECP, in consultation with the President Dr Arif Alvi and under the supervision of the Supreme Court, has fixed February 8 as the date for the general elections.
The party said fair elections are the basic requirements for supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law, restoration and stability of democracy and peaceful transition of power, it noted.
The party alleged open interference of the state institutions in politics against the constitution and law is causing the worst kind of deterioration in the electoral environment while the “brutal campaign of atrocities and revenge” against the party leaders and workers of PTI is going on without any fear and consideration of the law.
The Supreme Court, the party argued, should take suo motu cognizance of what it alleged the discriminatory state actions against the PTI and ensure equal opportunities for all parties to participate in the elections.