ECP rejects Senate body's reform proposal
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made it clear that it can discharge its constitutional mandate without any intervention from any quarter.
The ECP's observation was in response to a proposal recently made by the Senate Special Committee on Election Issues that a parliamentary body may be entrusted with the task of monitoring a long-term process for electoral reform.
Headed by Jahangir Badr, the Leader of House in the Senate, the committee had recommended that a permanent committee of each house of parliament or a joint committee comprising members from both the houses be set up to deal with electoral issues, to finalise proposed amendments to the Representation of People's Act.
"The committee should be given the mandate to introduce a framework for parliamentary oversight of the ECP and to work on improvement of a sustainable electoral framework," the report said.
In a letter written on behalf of the ECP to Senate Secretary Raja Amin by ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan, it was conveyed that some parts of the report were found to be "derogatory to the mandate given to the ECP by the constitution" under Articles 216 to 226 to do everything possible within the ambit of law for holding elections in a free, just and transparent manner and to guard against corrupt practices.
"Any power exercised by the ECP outside this mandate can be struck down by the superior courts, but no committee of either house or a joint parliamentary committee can meddle or exercise oversight on the mandate given to the ECP by the constitution," the letter reads.
Considering the incorporation of the part relating to the ECP's oversight in the longterm goals as a direct affront to its mandate given by the constitution, the commission said it would take all possible legal measures to confront such an attempt by any committee or an individual.
" The parliament is allpowerful to make or amend the laws to give more powers to the ECP to accomplish its mandate in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.