ECP hopeful of positive reply from President
After some wrangling last week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) expressed the hope on Monday that it would receive a positive reply from President Asif Ali Zardari over a draft sent to him for approval of changes in nomination papers of election candidates.
The commission had earlier set March 11 as the deadline for the president to approve the changes sent by the law ministry but extended this deadline till March 12, as the president is out of the country. Additional Secretary ECP Afzal Khan told the media in Islamabad that the election commission will strengthen the democratic institutions of the country by taking concrete steps. “The entire country will bear fruits of these steps.”
The additional secretary added that the ECP has all the rights and will strictly follow the given election schedule. He also requested the media to refrain from sensationalising news and to send “serious and senior” people to cover the elections. “They should take it as a national responsibility.”
Earlier, the changes in the nomination forms suggested by the ECP were rejected by the law ministry. Barring a couple of cosmetic changes, the ministry had rejected all the amendments outright, including those seeking the financial details and criminal history of the aspiring candidates. The ECP, however, had put its foot down, defending the proposed changes as constitutional and told the ministry to refer the matter to the president, who is the final authority.
Meanwhile the Law Ministry has sent the document of nomination papers for final approval by the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari. According to media reports, the Election Commission of Pakistan had directed the Law Ministry to send the nomination papers after clarifying reservations to the President of Pakistan at the earliest.