ISLAMABAD: Criticising the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government for what she called being on a direct collision course with democratic institutions such as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman on Wednesday vowed to support the ECP at all forums.
Talking to the media outside the ECP office in Islamabad along with other PPP and Awami National Party (ANP) leaders, Sherry Rahman said today when it was International Day of Democracy it was unfortunate that that the government was not only targeting democratic institutions but also the free media.
“The government has brought the country to such a pass that ordinances are being promulgated to bypass the opposition.”
She went on to add that such kind of voting machinery was being ‘imposed’ on the nation which could not deliver the goods in countries like Pakistan. “Be it the ECP or countries like Germany, Holland, Italy and others, all of them have compiled reports on the futility of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Pakistan and other countries with large populations,” she said, and added, “The greatest thing of all is that secrecy cannot be maintained if these machines are used. And secrecy is of cardinal importance in elections.”
Sherry said the government was browbeating the ECP. “Not only in Senate, but earlier too, the government ministers had an exchange of hot words with the ECP officials. It is not justified to make constitutional institutions controversial simply because they are not acting on the government orders. ‘If we don’t win, we will not let others win’ mentality should be done away with,” she emphasised.
She said the government’s ‘intimidation’ of the ECP amounted to pre-poll rigging, adding that opposition, particularly the PPP, rejected such tactics being employed by the government to get things done as per its whims and wishes.
Nayyer Bukhari said that be it EVMs or amendments to the Election Act, all these were against the constitution. “We have showed up at the ECP office today because PPP has the greatest stake in the general elections. Holding elections is the sole responsibility of the ECP as per the constitution,” he said, and added, “We still think that government ministers should not use insulting language against the institutions like the ECP. You may have differences of opinion with others. But that does not mean you start using ‘foul’ language against the opposite party.”