No provision in law for seeking UN or IMF audit of polls process: Expert

ISLAMABAD   -  Senior legal and con­stitutional expert Hafiz Ehsan Ahmed Khokhar has made it clear that there is no precedence or provision available in local or interna­tional law to call for or invite the involve­ment of international organizations like the United Nations or IMF in a forensic audit of the election process in a country in response to the claims of election manipulation.

In an interview with The Nation, Mr Khokhar’s attention was drawn on the legal implications of PTI’s letter writ­ten to IMF, he said that there are numerous instances where election tribunals or superior courts have inter­vened and declared certain results to be void due to ir­regularities committed during the election process, and that both Election Act of 2017 and the Pakistani Consti­tution clearly explain and define the procedure for ad­dressing issues of corrupt practices or election rigging through election petitions.

The current move by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to re­quest intervention, according to Hafiz Ehsaan Ahmad Khokhar, is purely political and will not benefit the law in any way, save from casting doubt on the legitimacy of state institutions. Mr Khokhar opined that only legal fo­rums that can address issues of election rigging are the special tribunals established by Article 225 of the Con­stitution and sections 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, and 144 of the Election Act of 2017.

Additionally, he said that it would be unprecedented for a political party to write to the IMF claiming election rigging because the organization is not authorized to get involved in domestic matters and because such a move would not be in the best interests of the state at large, given that Pakistan is in dire need of both foreign and domestic funding from international institutions in or­der to maintain its economy. The legal expert went on to say that our political parties ought to understand the in­terests of the state and refrain from supporting foreign intervention since doing so would eventually erode state sovereignty and bring ridicule to the entire globe.

Finally, he stated that the only way political parties could address the concerns of justice, governance, the economy, social justice, electoral reforms, devolution of power, and openness in all facets of government was to establish legal forums and engage in more extensive in­ternal discussion.

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