ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan issued show-cause notices to Federal Minister for Railways Azam Swati and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry during the hearing of a case relating to allegations they levelled against the commission and the chief election commissioner (CEC).
A two-member bench comprising ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Mohammad Jatoi heard the allegations against Swati and Chaudhry on Wednesday in Islamabad.
Assistant Advocate Muhammad Zubair said that Swati had appeared before the commission in person yesterday (Tuesday), but that he couldn’t make it today because roads were closed. We have also reached the Election Commission [premises] with great difficulty, the lawyer said.
The ECP officials said that this is the second notice given to Swati. The first notice, they said, was heard yesterday.
Swati has been sent two show-cause notices – one with Fawad Chaudhry and the other with Adviser to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.
The ECP members said that show-cause notices are being issued to Swati in today’s case too. The hearing of the case against Swati was adjourned till November 16.
Meanwhile, no lawyer appeared before the ECP on behalf of Chaudhry.
The ECP officials directed to issue show-cause notices to Chaudhry as well and adjourned the hearing against him till November 16.
Swati had lashed out at the ECP, accusing it of taking money from companies that make electronic voting machines during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on September 10 and another held the night prior at President House.
Swati had alleged that the ECP is destroying the country’s democracy and that it is involved in rigging.
Members of the ECP had walked out of the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Azam Swati’s allegations.
Earlier, three weeks ago, the ECP had given federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Swati more time to submit their replies regarding allegations they levelled against the commission and the chief election commissioner (CEC).
Sources privy to the matter said that the ECP had sought replies from the federal ministers in three weeks.
They said that action against the ministers will be taken under the Election Act in case of non-compliance with the orders and their behaviour may be considered contempt if proof backing the allegations is not provided.
The ECP had served notices to Chaudhry and Swati on September 16, seeking explanations within a week from both the ministers for accusations against CEC Sikander Sultan Raja and the commission.
However, both the ministers, on September 23, had requested an extension from the ECP to submit their replies.
Chaudhry had said that the ECP has “become the headquarters for Opposition parties” and the chief election commissioner is “acting as their mouthpiece”, during a press conference on the same day Swati made his allegations.