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ECP seeks removal of KP chief secretary

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Election Commission of Pakistan building. — Radio Pakistan/File
Election Commission of Pakistan building. — Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan Tuesday asked for immediate replacement of Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for his “inability to perform his functions efficiently and impartially”.

It also expressed disappointment with the Sindh chief secretary and IG police for not sending proposals for transfers and postings critical for holding elections early.

In a communication to the Secretary Establishment Division, Inamullah Khan Dharejo, the Election Commission Secretary Omar Hamid Khan sought the chief secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry’s replacement immediately.

According to a copy of the ECP’s letter to the secretary Establishment Division, “Mr Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is unable to perform his functions efficiently and impartially anymore in the situation preceding the general elections. It is a crucial requirement to conduct free, fair and impartial elections and to have professional, non-partisan and highly skilled officers to bear this sensitive assignment.”

The letter says the Election Commission is of the opinion that the said officer is unable to offer the required assistance to the commission. “It is, therefore, requested that the said officer be immediately replaced with a suitable and seasoned officer, who can defray his responsibilities to run the province with impartiality and required level of performance,” it said.

Earlier, two important meetings of the Election Commission were held on preparations for the upcoming general election. The first meeting was held with the Chief Secretary and IG Sindh. The second meeting was held with the Chief Secretary and IG Balochistan. The meetings were also attended by the respective provincial election commissioners and other senior officers. The meetings were chaired by Sikandar Sultan Raja, Chief Election Commissioner.

In its meeting with Chief Secretary Sindh and Inspector General of Police Sindh, the Election Commission expressed disappointment that proposals for transfers/postings of officials and officers, important from the point of view of the election, have not been received despite specific instructions. It directed both officers to comply with the ECP instructions at the earliest.

The ECP made it clear that it is the primary responsibility of the Election Commission to make the election transparent and fair. The first step in this regard is transfer and posting of all the officials and officers who are important from the point of view of the election, the ECP said.

The Election Commission said it has also issued instructions in this regard. Only after this, district returning officers, returning officers, assistant returning officers and monitoring teams are to be deployed. “The commission has very little time, so the Election Commission expressed disappointment over this and issued instructions that the proposals for transfer/ posting should be sent to the Election Commission as soon as possible so that the remaining steps for the elections can be taken as soon as possible in this short time. In this meeting, the Election Commission assured full patronage and protection to the Chief Secretary and IG,” an ECP statement says.

Briefing the commission about the preparations for the upcoming general elections, the chief secretary and IG Sindh assured the Election Commission of all possible cooperation during the upcoming elections.

In the second meeting, the Chief Secretary, IG Balochistan and provincial Election Commissioner Balochistan briefed the Election Commission about the preparations for the elections. The chief secretary said that proposals for posting/transfer of commissioners, deputy commissioners and additional deputy commissioners have been sent to the Election Commission to make the election process transparent. They also assured that other postings/transfers will also be done on merit as per the instructions of the Election Commission.

The chief secretary of Balochistan informed the meeting that buildings of the proposed polling station affected by the flood have been repaired. The IG Balochistan briefed the ECP about the law and order situation in the province and strategy for the upcoming elections.

The ECP urged the chief secretary and IG Balochistan to perform their duties impartially and assured them that the ECP would provide all possible assistance to them.

The CEC said that the Election Commission is a neutral body and all the phases of elections will be completed in a peaceful and impartial manner in the light of the Constitution and law.

Meanwhile, the Awami National Party (ANP) delegation will meet the Election Commission today (Wednesday) in relation to the roadmap to the general elections and related matters. The delegation will be led by ANP Secretary General Mian Iftikhar Hussain, whereas Central spokesperson Zahid Khan, Khushdil Khan Advocate and Abdul Rahim Wazir Advocate will be part of the party delegation.

In a statement issued here, Mian Iftikhar said his party wants free and fair elections to be held within the constitutionally defined period. The ANP team will apprise the Election Commission of the party’s stand on the new digital census, he said. He said they will also take up the schedule of general elections, delimitation of constituencies and other issues.

Iftikhar contended that the fixing of the election schedule and their conduct is the constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission, adding his party stands by the strengthening of the democratic system, Constitution and supremacy of parliament in the country. Balochistan Awami Party has also been invited by the Election Commission for consultation today.

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