House calls for holding early elections to bring country out of ‘worsening political, economic crises’ n Approves bill to give powers of PA to assembly secretary n Deputy Speaker Wasiq Qayyum takes oath.
LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly on Sunday passed a resolution calling for resignations of ‘biased’ Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja and Election Commission of Pakistan officials.
The development came a day after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) decided to file a ‘judicial reference’ against the CEC and other members of the ECP for allegedly violating the code of conduct by holding a meeting with the government delegation earlier this week.
The provincial legislature in the resolution expressed a lack of confidence in the ECP members including the CEC and demanded their resignations on the basis of “concrete evidence” to allow the electoral watchdog to hold transparent elections. The resolution also condemned the ouster of the PTI-led government in the Centre via “foreign conspiracy”. It said that early and transparent
general elections are the only solution to bring the country out of the worsening political and economic crises. The house also approved a bill to give the powers of the Punjab Assembly to the secretary of the assembly. Under the previous PML-N government, the powers were handed over to the law secretary.
Earlier, the session of the provincial assembly began with newly-elected Speaker Sibtain Khan administering the oath to his deputy Wasiq Qayyum. Qayyum was elected unopposed a day earlier after the Opposition announced a boycott of the polls.
In Sunday’s address, Speaker Sibtain Khan told the assembly that his deputy was elected after no one else submitted their nomination papers. After the oath was administered, PTI lawmaker Syed Abbas Shah presented the motion against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s chief, which was later approved by the assembly. After the motion was passed, the assembly was adjourned till August 15.
Imran Khan-led PTI took control of the Punjab Assembly along with their ally PML-Q following the Supreme Court’s intervention in the chief minister’s election. After taking charge, in a meeting chaired by Khan on Saturday, the PTI announced that it had decided to file a disqualification reference in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against CEC Raja for meeting the coalition parties that have formed a government at the centre.
In the same meeting, the PTI decided that provincial governments would also take action against the ECP and the provincial assemblies — in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa — would pass no-confidence resolutions against the ECP. PTI Information Secretary Farrukh Habib later issued a statement and said the party had made preparations for filing a disqualification reference in the SJC against the CEC.