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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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    Calls for CEC’s Removal Amid Election Preparations

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    Representatives from three prominent legal bodies—Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), and Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA)—have voiced serious concerns about alleged discrepancies in election procedures, demanding the removal of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to ensure free and fair elections. The PBC and SCBA expressed reservations about mounting inconsistencies, questioning the transparency of the electoral process under the current CEC’s command. The SHCBA echoed these concerns, highlighting additional issues related to seat allocations and delimitations.

    The PBC, led by Vice Chairman Haroonur Rashid and Executive Committee Chairman Hassan Raza Pasha, lamented the perceived irregularities in election procedures, delimitations, and seat allocations. They expressed a growing perception that transparent elections cannot be conducted under the incumbent CEC, calling for his removal. The SCBA, under President Shahzad Shaukat and Secretary Syed Ali Imran, joined this sentiment, asserting that fair and impartial elections were not possible under the present CEC’s leadership. Both bodies emphasized the need for a level playing field for all political parties and independent candidates.

    In response to these concerns, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a statement denying allegations of creating an additional seat in the native district of the CEC, calling media reports baseless. The ECP emphasized its commitment to fairness and impartiality, dismissing claims of favoritism.

    Adding weight to the apprehensions raised by the PBC and SCBA, the SHCBA expressed serious reservations regarding the CEC’s conduct in election procedures, delimitations, and seat allocations. The association contended that the allocation of an additional seat to district Rawalpindi, despite its lower population, raised doubts about the integrity of the upcoming general elections.

    Amidst these concerns, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declined to intervene in election-related matters to ensure the electoral timeline remains intact. The court, led by Acting Chief Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, emphasized the need for stability in the country and rejected a request to intervene in the delimitation of constituencies, highlighting the potential disruption to the election process.

    As the legal landscape surrounding the upcoming elections continues to evolve, the demands for the removal of the CEC and concerns raised by legal bodies underscore the challenges faced in ensuring a fair and transparent electoral process.

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