Nadra to prepare electoral rolls if ECP unsuccessful: SC -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Nadra to prepare electoral rolls if ECP unsuccessful: SC

By: Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said if the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) failed to prepare the electoral rolls as directed, the task would be given to the National Database and Registration Authority. The SC also asked the ECP to submit a report on Wednesday (today) about the progress made so far in the preparation of electoral rolls.

A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry heard a petition, filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, seeking preparation of electoral rolls after eliminating all bogus votes.

The court also directed the ECP to explain in writing by today why preparation of electoral rolls was delayed. Hamid Khan, counsel for Imran Khan, told the court that the ECP was given a specific time for the removal of bogus votes from the electoral rolls and compilation of electoral rolls afresh. However, he said the ECP did not complete its task during the specified time and instead extended the time for completion of the task, adding that the ECP had thus far not even completed the interim electoral rolls. Hamid Khan said 37 million bogus votes still existed in the electoral rolls.

To a court query, he said the ECP was directed to complete the task pertaining to removal of bogus votes from the electoral rolls and preparation of fresh electoral rolls by Dec 16.

Joint Secretary Election Commission Sher Afgan told the court that the date for preparation of new electoral rolls was extended with the consultation of political parties. The chief Justice, however, noted that this was a violation of the court order, asking how extra time was given without prior approval of the court. Sher Afgan submitted that the Supreme Court registrar was informed while extending the time.

“Preparation of electoral rolls should not be taken lightly and made a joke,” the chief justice said. He said the Election Commission stands ready to hold elections on a month’s notice the world over. “If holding of elections in the country is announced today, what would you do?” the chief justice asked Sher Afgan.

During the course of hearing, the matter of constitutional status of by-polls held when the ECP was not completed under the provisions of 18th Constitutional Amendment also came under discussion. The court asked Sher Afgan what the ECP had done in this regard. Sher Afgan submitted that the ECP had held that the by-polls held during the period when the ECP was incomplete under the 18th Amendment, should be considered as correct and legitimate being a past and closed transaction.

“This is the doctrine of necessity, which we have buried once and for all,” the chief justice observed, adding that violation of the law was committed in the by-polls, and hence successful persons may face disqualification. He said everyone would have to follow the Constitution now.

The court directed the ECP to present its detailed stance over the issue today. In his petition, Imran Khan had said that the recent revelation by the Election Commission that almost 44 percent of registered voters were bogus votes made the status of the present assemblies and government dubious.

He had suggested preparation of electoral rolls in a manner that should include the name of a voter in such electoral area wherein his address mentioned on the CNIC of the voter exists.

Source: The News