ECP bypasses president on nomination forms for polls

ISLAMABAD — The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sent its own amended nomination forms for printing, ignoring government’s insistence that it must be approved by the President.

The law minister had earlier raised certain objections to the form which the commission had rejected. The forms were sent to the president on February 20 who had failed to respond till the deadline of March 11 set by the commission.

The forms, bore signatures of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and the three Election Commission Members while the fourth member Roshan Essani from Sindh has written a dissenting note concurring with the law minister’s view that it has to be signed by the president.

The commission observed that it has the authority to frame rules and design the nomination paper even without the president’s assent because the constitution expects the commission to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure free, fair and transparent elections and block corrupt practices by the candidates.

The new form carries sweeping changes asking the candidates to declare their assets, tax returns of previous three years, details of foreign trips, political affiliation, declaration that he is not dual nationality holder and has no criminal record during the past three years.