Election tussle

Election tussle

Tahirul Qadri is reportedly attempting to delay elections. Daily Times reported on February 8: "Qadri on Thursday prayed the Supreme Court [would] declare [the] appointment of [the] Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chief and four members null and void... He contended since the members of the ECP have not been appointed according to the procedure laid down by the constitution, their appointment is unconstitutional, invalid and void ab initio, adding that their assumption of office and continuance is unconstitutional and unlawful."

Should his demands be met, Pakistan will have no functioning poll panel and the upcoming polls can't be conducted till the ECP is reconstituted. Dawn quoted Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan: "General elections may be postponed if the Supreme Court decides to admit the petition filed by Qadri... Ahsan said it was not possible to constitutionally remove any member of the ECP in its present form or to constitute the commission anew."

The chief election commissioner, Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, told The News: "'This criticism is most unfortunate as we are only six weeks away from the expiry of the term of the present government and on the verge of a smooth transition from one democratic government to the next for the very first time,' he maintained. 'My appointment as well as [that of] the ECP members was made in complete compliance with all the constitutional provisions... none of the attacks against us give any details about our so-called political affiliations,' he noted."

Meanwhile, Qadri has announced his next plan, reported Daily Times on February 5: "The cleric said that the 'second phase' of his 'revolutionary struggle' would start in Gujranwala on February 15, in Faisalabad on February 17, in Multan on February 22 and in Peshawar on February 24, while rallies would be held in Sukkar and Rawalpindi for electoral reforms in the country."

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