PM terms dissolution of ECP ‘extra-constitutional’

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday, rejecting the demand to dissolve Election Commission as “extra-constitutional,” said neither the Commission, nor its Members, can be removed.

Chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet, he said the Election Commission and appointment of its Members was made in accordance with the Constitution.

He said the government was sincerely engaged in the efforts to strengthen democracy, while anti-democratic forces and anti-state elements were also busy in creating situation that was not only detrimental to democracy but also to economic growth and stability.

He termed it “a very dangerous trend” and said there was a strong need to rise against these disruptive forces so as to move forward.

“In hours of crisis, difficulties and challenges, vibrant and vigilant nations respond according to the situation, analyze factors leading to such events and come up with solution, thus converting challenges into opportunities,” he added.

The Prime Minister in categorical terms told the anti-democracy elements that the government will not succumb to their intrigues.

“We shall not let any one derail the democracy. We gave and are ready to give any kind of sacrifice for the country and democracy,” he added.

He said with the collective wisdom of coalition partners, the democracy was gaining strength in the country and added the national and provincial assemblies were completing their tenure in the next few weeks.

The Prime Minister said the nation was heading towards the general election and the government was committed to holding free, fair and transparent elections in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

He said the PPP has roots in the masses and urged his Cabinet colleagues and the Parliament to maintain effective contact with the people of their areas and constituencies.

Pervez Ashraf said like Shaheed Leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, he too was a staunch believer in the politics of consensus and reconciliation, the attributes constituting the essence of democracy.

The Prime Minister said achieving consensus requires sacrifices, understanding, patience and commonality of purpose and added political leadership must be equipped with these qualities to ensure democracy and constitutionalism.

He said the government was fully committed to its political and constitutional obligations and believed in further strengthening the institutions.

The Prime Minister said as per directions of the President, the caretaker set-up at the Centre and the Provinces would be formed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law, after proper consultation with all stakeholders.

“We believe that sustained political stability is a pre- requisite for achievement of economic well-being of the country.”

He prayed to Allah Almighty for strength to face all the difficulties and challenges with courage that threaten the country and democracy.

The Cabinet later took up Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Bill 2013 and Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-2015.