Stories about ECP

Election 2013: I flew 4,000 miles just to vote, I’m sure you can too!

“Are you crazy?” This was the reaction I got every time I told someone I was going to Karachi for two weeks to vote in the upcoming general elections. For months, all overseas Pakistanis have been closely following the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Supreme Court rulings on whether we’ll be allowed to vote or not. The official decision is now out. Like many overseas Pakistanis, I am extremely disappointed that I cannot vote for my country just because I work abroad. Though I work overseas, I am a Pakistani citizen and hold a valid Pakistani passport. Not only do I work hard ...

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Justice Ebrahim, when will you tell us if overseas Pakistanis can vote or not?

This is a sincere request to our Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, Justice Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, to take emergency notice of the matter regarding voting rights of overseas Pakistanis. Officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have buried the issue by saying that bureaucratic hurdles are making it impossible to grant voting facilities to expats. Currently, there are around 7.5 million Pakistanis abroad, and our economy is primarily running on remittances sent by them. Pakistan was ranked number ten for remittances in 2012, which totalled around $13 billion that year. Due to meagre employment opportunities, many leave the country in search of a better livelihood so that ...

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It’s about more than just a ‘fake’ degree

It is almost refreshing to see the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutinise politicians with fake degrees, unpaid bills and bank loans. While I am fairly certain that some of this scrutiny comes with a pinch of biased resentment, it is neither unwarranted nor undeserved. Those who lie, cheat and steal while entrusted with the future of the country lack the fundamental premise for being awarded political candidacy: character. Justice cannot and should not operate with the childish notion of “but he/she did the same”, the fact that a selected few have been let off the hook does not absolve the ...

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None of these people represent me! Why can’t I vote ‘none of the above’?

You know what, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), I wanted to exercise the ‘none of the above’ option in my vote but you backed out by deciding against introducing it. I don’t know, nor do I care if I was alone in rejoicing the commission’s decision to put in that option in the ballot paper, because for the first time, I thought I would go and vote my heart out. I would rather go to the ballot and tell the world that none of these people represent me. This is so much better than just sitting back and not casting one’s vote ...

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Article 62 and 63: You don’t have to be too holy to be an MPA

They say that the world is all about numbers, and for Pakistan today, the numbers 62 and 63 are the talk of town. Citizens of the country are watching election candidates being questioned over their eligibility on the basis of the much talked about Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Candidates are being scrutinised regarding their utility bill payments, bank loan payments, their ideological views on Pakistan and most interestingly, their Islamic knowledge. Regarding Islam, returning officers performing the scrutiny of nomination papers have a set of interesting questions which they pose to the candidates. Some are being asked to recite ...

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Religion is personal and no one has the right to question it

Being a Pakistani Muslim, I am a firm believer in the ideology of Pakistan and have respect for all those who sacrificed their lives for our future, by gaining independence from British India. But had the founder of Pakistan known what was to become of his country, he might have had second thoughts. In the recent past, the scrutiny of nomination papers was under way, according to Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, inserted into the Constitution by military ruler Ziaul Haq, that too, by blackmailing elected representatives of the time under the Eighth Amendment. The requirement to hold a graduate degree ...

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Pre-poll rigging

Of all the words and phrases bandied about in the election season, I find “pre-poll rigging” and “other forms of electoral fraud” the most intriguing. Perhaps it is because I don’t entirely understand what it means. You see there are too many nuances there that I am not aware of. To be honest, pre-poll rigging seems simple enough, at least if entries in most dictionaries are considered. We discover that the term is used routinely in countries where democracy is present, or, for that matter, absent. It is often on the lips of the common man (who is by no means ...

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Letter to be signed by 100 people to the ECP

Justice Mr Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Chief Election Commissioner, Pak Secretariat, Block 44 A Shahrah-e-Iraq, Saddar Karachi ————————————————- Citizens’ demand ————————————————– Honourable sir, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has a historic opportunity to forever change the dark and disreputable politics of Pakistan. Free and fair elections will remain hollow clichés unless the ECP acts to purge the past violators and creates an effective filtration process for the future lawmakers. We, the ‘Citizens for Fair Elections’ demand that the Election Commission put an end to the eternal recycling of political sewage by taking the following bold steps: 1. Disqualify all fake degree holders: The ECP should order the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to ...

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Is PTI trying to derail democracy?

In the latest saga of the upcoming general election soap opera, Dr Tahirul Qadri has taken his petition against the constitution of the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) to the Supreme Court. But since it’s Dr Qadri who has decided to take this step, then why is the political party and media compass pointing to PTI headquarters? PTI stated it had no regrets about not joining the long march. The reason they gave was that despite the same agenda there was a different method of proposed realisation. Why? One word – unconstitutional. The media and PPP criticised PTI for demanding Asif Zardari’s resignation. Why? One word- unconstitutional. PTI ...

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The hunt for Karachi’s constituency map

Maps are supposed to show you where to go. But what about the hunt for a map itself? When the icky subject of delimitation came up, our reporter came with the astounding information that constituencies had been messed with so badly in 2002 that in some instances disconnected chunks of Karachi were put down as one unit. I didn’t believe him. There was only one way to find out – look at the maps. Don’t get me wrong; I couldn’t care less about delimitation, which is a word that makes my brain freeze. But maps I like. I commissioned stories. But the text ...

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