December 15, 2023
ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday responded to PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan’s allegation that Feb 8 elections could be delayed, branding his remarks a “failed attempt to mislead the people”.
In a press conference held earlier in the day, Gohar had doubted that the general elections would be held on its currently scheduled date.
He claimed the ECP had already moved the elections forward, questioning why it did not release the election schedule, which it was supposed to do today.
The PTI chairman criticised the commission for not providing a level playing field to his party, and cited senior party leader Sher Afzal Marwat’s “abduction” today as the latest example of the ECP’s bias.
“Free and fair elections will not be possible due to this entire process,” Barrister Gohar stated. “We have always had one stance, which is for the election commission to conduct fair and free elections.”
He added that the appointment of civil servants as returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) instead of judicial officers could never ensure fair and free elections.
ECP Spokesperson Haroon Shinwari, in a statement, refuted Gohar’s allegations, reiterating that all the arrangements for holding the elections on February 8 were already in place.
He said that the DROs and ROs had already been appointed and undergoing training in various parts of the country — which he said was necessary before the announcement of election schedule.
The spokesperson further said that once the election schedule is announced, only then the nomination papers could be filed by the candidates and the ECP could perform its duties.
He said that the election commission could not be “held responsible for the current situation in any way”.