ANP supports strong ECP: Minister

PESHAWAR, Jan 31: The Khyber Pakthunkhwa Minister for Environment and Forests, Wajid Ali Khan said Thursday the Awami National Party (ANP) support a strong, independent and economically stable Election Commission of Pakistan imperative for strengthening democratic system in the country.

“For continuity of democratic system and holding of free, fair and transparent elections, a strong, independent and economically powerful Election Commission is the must that will not only guarantee continuity of democracy but also ensure credibility of polls’ results locally and internationally,” he told APP here Thursday.

He said the Government has appointed an impartial Chief Election Commissioner after building consensus and consultation with all political parties and now it is the responsibility of the ECP to conduct free, fair and transparent election. When asked about the demand of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Chief of Tahrik Minhajul Quran regarding dissolution of ECP, he said it was purely an unconstitutional demand.

He said judiciary was independent and media was free and if Qadri has any reservations regarding ECP, he should approach appropriate forums for remedy. Replying to a question about imposition of ban on recruitment in Govt departments by ECP, the Minister said the Government has always respected the decisions whether it was from ECP or Judiciary and this decision was also whole heatedly accepted.

However, he said departments dealing with social delivery and essential services like Health and Education Department etc should be exempted from such bans on humanitarian basis. He said Government required services of doctors, paramedics and teachers for the newly constructed hospitals, BHUs, schools and teaching institutes and expressed the hope that ECP would review its decision regarding ban on Govt departments on fresh recruitment in the larger interest of people.

The Minister said consultation with political parties was underway for caretaker setup and all the decisions in this regard would be made with consensus. He said ANP Parlimentary Board will issue party tickets for next general elections. He said popularity of a political party cannot be judged from conducting random surveys as the opinions of only few thousands could not be accepted as the verdict of 180 million people. He said only elections’ results would sort out the popularity graph of political parties.

The Minister said ANP will not leave the fields open for any one and will fully take part in election and will get overwhelming majority on the basis of performance.