G. Ebrahim appeals political heads to empower peaceful elections

ISLAMABAD: An appeal is made by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim to the political heads of different parties to facilitate the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct the elections peacefully and appropriately.

He stated that ECP hoped the political parties to help and facilitate the commission by providing conducive environment during the pre-poll period and on the polling day so that no one had a chance to cripple the electoral process.

“This can only be done if all political parties and their candidates ensure compliance with the code of conduct,” Justice Ebrahim said in letters written to the chiefs of 148 parties.

He said that ECP had taken several measures to ensure that the election process was conducted in a smooth and peaceful manner.

“We will continue to adopt every conceivable measure, in accordance with law, to provide an electoral environment which is conducive for campaigning and for voters to exercise their right to vote freely, without any fear or intimidation.

“But you will appreciate that this is possible only if all stakeholders in the election exercise play their role by following the rules of the game set by the ECP in the code of conduct for political parties and candidates,” he stressed.

The chief election commissioner asked the leaders to advise the rank and file of their parties to promote and maintain peace and harmony during the election campaign.

He said that while candidates and parties had every right to reach out to voters and propagate their manifestos and policies, they must respect others’ right to do the same.

“It is essential that we adopt, in the larger national interest, the policy of coexistence at all levels and at all stages in the election process.”

Justice Ebrahim said a sense of responsibility and sincerity would go a long way in nurturing democracy and promoting values of tolerance, thus sending a message to the outside world that Pakistanis believed in peace and harmony.

Pakistan was passing through a critical phase of its national history as more than 85 million voters would soon choose their representatives at national and provincial levels for the next five years.

“Democracy, we all know, with its many variations, is the only reliable medium of governing people in accordance with their free will expressed by them through a credible and transparent electoral process.”