ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Thursday wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) seeking explanation on its proposals to rectify the failures and breaches in the commission in the light of final report of the 2013 General Elections Inquiry Commission.

PTI also asked the CEC to initiate criminal prosecutions under section 91 of the Representation of the People’ Act (ROPA), 1976 against all concerned officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for breach of official duties during the 2013 general elections.

Chairman PTI Imran Khan in his letter written to the CEC Justice (Retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza pointed out various serious, systematic and pervasive failures and breaches in the organisation and conduct of the 2013 general elections as mentioned in the final report of the Inquiry Commission of Supreme Court. “These failures and breaches were identified by the Inquiry Commission in respect of every material phase of the electoral process,” the letter says.

The letter says that the Inquiry Commission observed that the 2013 general elections was not a snap election. There was plenty of time for the ECP to organise the 2013 general elections which is the most important task which it must prepare for and undertake,” Imran Khan said in the letter on behalf of his party, adding that the Inquiry Commission however found that the evidence before it suggested poor planning on part of ECP.

Imran Khan said that the report also revealed a number of grave irregularities and failures to comply with the mandatory requirements of ROPA and other applicable law, rules, regulations, instructions or directions in the organisation and conduct of 2013 general elections which as held by Inquiry Commission itself was the ultimate constitutional duty of the ECP itself.

Imran Khan in the letter said that PTI recognises that the report related to a period prior to the date of assumption of the office of incumbent Chief Election Commissioner. “However, the PTI is sanguine that you will agree and accept that the scale, magnitude and pervasiveness of the proved and established failures, breaches and irregularities by the ECP (which include its then members, secretary, additional secretaries, DGs, provincial election commissioners (PECS), DECS and other officials and staff as well as the officials acting as returning officers (ROs), presiding officers (POs) and assistant presiding officers (APOs) etc during last elections) is undeniably grave and that there is an urgent requirement to examine, address, rectify and cure each and everyone of the matters identified by the Inquiry Commission,” he added. The PTI is also confidant that you (CEC) will agree that any failure, reluctance or delay on the part of ECP in addressing and rectifying these matters so as to preclude the possibility of reoccurrence there of or any attempt to obfuscate or de-emphasise their significant will further undermine the credibility and standing of ECP, Imran Khan said in the letter.

“In the circumstances, I request, for on behalf of PTI, that your office provide us an urgent basis with a detailed (issue wise) written explanation, including on all measures that the ECP proposes and under takes to introduce, take and implement so as to address, rectify and cure each and everyone of the failures, breaches and illegalities identified by the Inquiry Commission and summarised above so that the possibility of reoccurrence of the same is not only avoided but assured and also provide the anticipated timeframe for implementation of each proposal,” he remarked.

PTI sought explanation what ECP took or proposed disciplinary and other legal proceedings against all the concerned individuals, persons and officials for the failures, breaches and illegalities identified in the report. Additionally and without prejudice to the forgoing, as the ECP is well aware, Section 91 of ROPA creates a specific criminal offence for the breach of official duties in connection with the elections and says that if RO, ARO, PO, APO or any person is guilty of an offence will be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both. Chairman PTI also mentioned sections 95 (1) and 95 (2) of ROPA.

“Given the express and unequivocal findings of the commission that there were pervasive breaches and failures to comply with mandatory provisions of ROPA during the conduct of the 2013 general elections in order to restore some confidence on the election process and to prelude the occurrence of such breaches in future, it is imperative for ECP to initiate criminal prosecutions under section 91 of ROPA against all concerned officials who were found to have committed the offence during the conduct of 2013 General Elections,” PTI chief said adding that failure of the ECP to exercise this power (which in terms of Section 95 (1) is exclusively vested in the ECP and its commissioners) will further undermine its credibility and give rise to further questions about its will and capacity to faithfully carry out and perform its constitutional and statutory duties and obligations.