Kanwar Dilshad, a former secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has said that no institution has the authority to withhold payments from the ECP, and that if such an effort is made, the Commission may bring a contempt action against the institution.

“The ECP is a constitutional institution with the same norms and powers as the Supreme Court of the United States of America. As a result, in accordance with Article 222 of the Constitution, it will acquire the monies from the Ministry of Finance.”

Dilshad served as the federal secretary of the ECP from July 2004 to December 2009, a position he held until his retirement. At the moment, he serves as the head of the National Democratic Forum (NDF), which is a think tank that raises awareness about election rules and is affiliated with the United Nations.

Article 222 of the Constitution of Pakistan (electoral laws) gives the Election Commission of Pakistan the authority to reject any amendments to the Election Laws 2017, even if they are passed by a joint session of Parliament and all provincial assemblies, if they are in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan, Dilshad had previously told The News.

“No institution has the ability to deny payments to the Election Commission,” Dilshad said in a statement.

“If the Election Commission’s funds are withheld, it has the authority to bring a case of contempt,” he said.

The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday said that the ECP was “obligated” to use electronic voting machines in all future elections, including by-elections, two weeks after measures pertaining to electoral reforms were passed by a joint session of Parliament (EVMs).

Following a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain told reporters after the meeting that “the federal cabinet, while discussing the most important decision on the EVM, opined that after amendment in the [election laws], it is mandatory for the election commission to hold all next by-polls through EVMs.”

In addition, “there is another perspective that the government would not be able to pay them if elections are not performed using EVMs,” he said, citing the current election regulations, which only granted validity to the polls if they were held using the machines.

The Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem, according to him, was of the opinion that the government could only allocate funding to the ECP for elections if they were conducted using electronic voting machines (EVMs).

By News Desk

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