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‘It is becoming difficult for ECP to hold elections’

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  • Decision to move SC taken after legal opinion from experts.
  • Following PHC order, constituency is without a RO: ECP. 
  • ECP develops modern election management system.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has expressed concerns over the Peshawar High Court (PHC) order against the appointment of a returning officer, noting “it is becoming difficult” for the electoral body to hold polls, The News reported citing sources on Thursday.

The concerns were expressed in the ECP huddle on Wednesday, wherein the electoral decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the PHC order suspending the appointment of Irfanullah as RO for PK-91 Kohat-II.

Sources told The News the decision was taken after the ECP discussed threadbare the matter and sought legal opinion from the commission’s experts.

“The meeting noted that following the PHC order, the very constituency is now technically without a returning officer. In these circumstances, it is becoming difficult for the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct elections,” sources said, referring to the commission’s huddle here at its secretariat, after having received the provincial high court order.

They pointed out that under Article 218, it is the constitutional mandate of the Election Commission to conduct the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner and all the government institutions are bound to lend support and cooperation to it in carrying out the extremely important national duty.

Sources said the commission had another detailed meeting that discussed the Tuesday’s order of PHC to grant Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ‘bat’ as an election symbol, suspending its recent order.

The Election Commission reviewed the matter and decided to hold another meeting on Thursday (today) prior to taking a decision in relation to the PHC order.

ECP satisfied over IT system

Meanwhile, the Election Commission stated that all operational and IT systems were working satisfactorily and the commission did not face any obstacles and difficulties in the ongoing phases of conducting the general election 2024.

The commission said it has developed an automated and modern election management system (EMS), which would be used to transmit and compile election results from presiding officers to returning officers. All preparations in this regard were complete and the automated system had been tested several times.

Some additional functions have also been added to the EMS system to assist returning officers so that data could be stored for future use even during the initial stages of elections, the statement pointed out.

It noted that in remote areas, however, where internet connectivity issues were reported, the returning officers had some difficulties in sending the lists of nominated candidates to the Election Commission, provincial election commissioner, regional election commissioner and district election commissioner.

The ECP clarified that the main purpose of the EMS was to compile the transmission and tabulation of election results and the system would be used only on polling day. But to say that the EMS had failed while it has not yet been made operational is fabricated and insensitive.

The EMS did not pose any threat to the transmission and tabulation of election results and the Election Commission is fully satisfied with its preparations for the general election 2024 and the use of election management system in it. The fears and apprehensions in some quarters in this regard are baseless, it said.

“The ECP is totally satisfied with the use of EMS. It is also being ensured that all ROs are provided with fibre optic facilities and Wi-Fi devices may also be with them as an alternative. It is also clarified that to tabulate results, the internet is not necessary,” it said.

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No “major breakthrough” in the opposition-led JUI-F and PTI meeting

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Maulana Fazalur Rehman stated that mending rifts in relationships and getting rid of resentment in an interview with the media in Islamabad with a team from the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Ayeen-e-Pakistan that paid him a visit.

While no significant progress was made at the meeting, all sides decided to keep in touch in order to plan for the future.

“A positive message,” according to the JUI-F chief, was received with open arms by the delegation. Taking a “united” stance on national issues was the primary goal of the meeting, he said.

Democracy is losing its appeal, and Pakistan’s parliament and constitution are losing their respect. In parliament, Maulana Fazalur Rehman continued, “we should have a single voice.”

Remarking on the event, National Assembly Opposition Leader Omar Ayub thanked the JUI-F leader for ‘warmly’ receiving the group.

We had a fruitful discussion in the meeting, he declared, urging the opposition parties to work with the PTI to “protect” the constitution.

Constitutional violations and a lack of a rule of law are the claims made by Omar Ayub. According to him, there was “no reason” why the police searched the PTI’s Islamabad central secretariat office.

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In the instance of illegal recruitment, Pervaiz Elahi is granted bail.

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The earlier-reserved court ruling was delivered by LHC Judge Sultan Tanveer Ahmad on Tuesday.

LHC had filed a post-arrest bail motion, according to the former chief minister.

On October 25, 2023, Pervaiz was taken into custody by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

From June 1 to September 18, Elahi has been arrested in a number of crimes; the most recent one was reported by the Punjab ACE on September 18.

More: Pervaiz Elahi’s condition “deteriorated” in Adiala jail; he was hurried to PIMS.

In the Punjab Assembly, Elahi illegally hired 12 people for grade 17 positions, according to information provided by an ACE representative.

In the provincial assembly, the candidates were chosen through record-altering.

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The bail petition of Parvez Elahi in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by the ATC.

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A bail application filed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party, in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on the grounds of prematurity.

ATC Judge Arshad Javed announced the decision during today’s hearing.

The counsel representing Parvez Elahi contended that there was a significant likelihood of his client being arrested in relation to the Jinnah House attack case. It was stated that the ex-Chief Minister had previously been held in custody on judicial remand in other cases.

The petitioner requested the court to authorise the release of Parvez Elahi on bail in the Jinnah House attack case.

Nevertheless, the prosecution argued that the bail petition did not meet the necessary legal criteria, emphasising that Parvez Elahi had not been apprehended in connection with the case.

Considering these considerations, the court rejected Parvez Elahi’s request for release, stating that it was premature since he had not been arrested in the Jinnah House attack case.

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