December 19, 2023
Mr. Haroon-ur-Rashid, Vice-Chairman and Mr. Hassan Raza Pasha, Chairman, Executive Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), assert the crucial need for the General Elections to proceed as planned on the 08th of February 2024. They emphasize the necessity for all political parties and independent candidates to be afforded a level playing field and equal opportunities, ensuring transparency and fairness in the electoral process.
However, they have expressed their serious concerns over the conduct of the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan (CECP), regarding election procedures, delimitations, and seat allocations and highlighted the growing perception that, in the presence of the incumbent CECP, elections cannot be conducted freely and transparently.
A glaring example is the matter of allocation of two (02) National Assembly seats to the CECP’s own native District (Jehlum), with a population of 1,382,000(appx.) while District Hafizabad, with a population of around 1,320,000(appx.), is allocated only one (01) seat. A similar imbalance is observed in the allocation of seats for District Rawalpindi. Despite its lower population compared to Gujranwala Division, an additional seat has been allocated, raising questions about the transparency of the electoral process. It is evident that the conduct of the CECP raises serious doubts about the integrity of the general elections, presenting an environment that appears to lack transparency entirely.
In light of these circumstances, the PBC cannot turn a blind eye to these critical matters. They stress that the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, as the highest Constitutional Court, must take notice of these discrepancies instead of endorsing every act of the CECP. The PBC firmly believes that the primary objective is not merely holding elections but conducting them in a free, fair, and transparent manner, providing equal opportunities to all stakeholders.
With this in mind, the PBC will soon convene an all Pakistan Representative convention to formulate and announce a line of action and date for a lawyers’ movement in consultation with Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP). The aim is to ensure the cause of free, fair, and transparent general elections which is not possible in the presence of incumbent Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, as it seems, he has different codes for every political party or individual.
PBC remains committed to upholding democratic principles and fostering transparency in the electoral process for the benefit of all citizens.