ISLAMABAD: Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Babar Yaqoob on Tuesday while rejecting the All Parties Conference demand of resignation of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and asked the political parties to accept mandate of the people after the elections.
Addressing a press conference he said, “The ECP expresses its sadness over the APC statement regarding the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner. We reject and strongly condemn it as the July 25 polls were held in a free, fair and transparent manner.”
He said that issuing of such a statement by the political parties without any evidence was unfortunate and against reality. The secretary said, “till to date no rigging complaint had been registered with ECP throughout the country”.
He said that not respecting people of the country’s mandate due to personal interest is against the basic principles of democracy. “If any candidate has complaints then these will be dealt with as per the law and complaints should be filed according to the Constitution.”
He said, “We expect all candidates whether they won or lost to respect people’s mandate and not only accept the results but strengthen the democratic process. “
Yaqoob said, “If any candidate has complaints then they will be dealt with as per the law and complaint should be filed in line with the Constitution. We took measures to provide a level playing field to all parties.” He said in any respectable nation and developed country, demand against the law was considered unconstitutional.
He said that acting upon Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) petition, the electoral body requested the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to not arrest political leaders till the polls were over, Yaqoob said, “Elections were postponed in NA-60 after disqualification of PML-N candidate.”
ECP decided to postpone polls in NA-60, Rawalpindi constituency following PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s sentence to ensure that all parties have a level playing field, he reminded. He said that the ECP had also taken notice of stopping the rallies of political parties and ordered for the enquiry of the incidents.
Yaqoob further said, “One can ascertain that the 2018 General Election was transparent by noting that polls were concluded on time in most parts of the country and the voter turnout stood at 52%.”
He said that people freely exercised their right to elect their candidates. He said that Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), EU missions and Commonwealth observers declared the polls free and fair.
He said total 30,000 observers including 400 international monitors observed the whole process of the election and termed them free, fair and transparent. The ECP Secretary said, “For the first time in the country’s history, a survey was conducted in 85,000 polling stations and provincial governments were asked to facilitate people.” He added, “This was the first election in which a large number of women participated.”
He said that all the material related to the election had been timely delivered to all the polling stations and about 800,000 people were imparted comprehensive training for the holding of election. He said that comprehensive code of conduct had been issued with the consultation of political parties.
He said that a control room set up in the ECP worked round the clock to address the grievances of candidates and it had received about 674 complaints. “All the complaints were addressed immediately,” he added. He said that action had been taken over 100 applications of the candidates.
He said the Commission has sought explanations about delay of results from District Returning Officers and provincial election commissioners. He said that the ECP was analyzing the Result Transmission System (RTS) and the report will be shared.
“We expect all the democratic forces will keep behind their personal interest and will not criticize their constitutional institutions for supremacy of democracy and play their role for the strengthening of democracy,” he concluded.