On Thursday, Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi led a delegation of the PTI to meet with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. During the meeting, they demanded that returning officers (ROs) should be from the judiciary instead of the bureaucracy.
The former ruling party expressed concerns about the impartiality of the bureaucracy, citing the influence of the caretaker government of Punjab.
They said that the CEC told the PTI that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) tried to get the ROs from the judiciary, but the Lahore High Court (LHC) excused itself from the matter.
He added that now they have no other option but to take the bureaucracy’s assistance, and any further delays may lead to a delay in the elections.
The sources said that during the meeting, the CEC heard the concerns of the PTI and assured them of their resolution, adding that ECP was bound to conduct the polls in light of the Supreme Court’s (SC) orders.
They reported that the ECP informed the PTI of their intention to closely monitor the election campaign, and furthermore, the Chief Election Commissioner personally assured them that he would raise the issue with Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi.
They added that ECP has called on all political parties to cooperate with it, while it will take steps to provide equal opportunities to everyone.
The sources said that the PTI demanded that the provincial IGP and chief secretary issue instructions and the CEC assured them of the resolution of their concerns.
PTI’s delegation was led by Qureshi and included Asad Umar and Maleeka Ali Bukhari as well.
After the meeting, while speaking to the media, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that they held the meeting with the permission of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.He
He said, “The Election Commission has a high responsibility for transparent elections; we talked about fair and transparent elections; the meeting took place in a very good atmosphere,” . And also he said, “We raised our concerns before the Election Commission; we also put the Lahore incident before the Election Commission.”
The PTI leader said that despite the apex court’s verdict, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is not giving any date.
In case the election date is not provided within a reasonable timeframe, he stated that they would approach the Supreme Court for contempt of court.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the ECP listened to them patiently. “We will inform our chairman about all the meeting; I am satisfied with this meeting,” he added.
Published in Logical Baat, March 10, 2023.