In a rare reaction to remarks made by a holder of a public office, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) “strongly condemned” on Sunday a statement by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
In recent statements, the twice-elected speaker had expressed his annoyance with the ECP which, he said was ‘incompetent’ to hold elections.
“Is it the ECP’s incompetence or mal intent [that they decided to] send the case to an election tribunal without seeking my point of view,” he had asked, speaking to reporters in Lahore. The speaker has issued a couple of statements to this effect earlier as well. In response, ECP issued a statement on Sunday, saying, “The ECP strongly condemns and rebuts the statement and assertion made by Mr Ayaz Sadiq as the commission is fully aware of its all constitutional obligations that are performed according to the established laws and rules.”
Mr Sadiq was previously unseated from his NA-122 seat after a tribunal declared his election void on an election petition moved by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). In his remarks, he was reacting to the ECP decision to forward yet another election petition regarding the NA-122 elections, to an election tribunal. He argues that as far as the act of transfer of votes was concerned, he was being incorrectly involved in the case. “Transferring votes is the job of the Election Commission and not Ayaz Sadiq. It was you [ECP] who transferred the votes — whether after accepting a bribe or else and it should be you to stand trial (for any wrong done in the process) and not me.” The NA speaker also chided the ECP for poor drafting of the summons and offered to hire a lawyer to train it (on legal matters). “The commission secretariat is drawing salaries worth crores [tens of millions] of rupees but cannot do its job (perfectly).
If you cannot do the job, then I may hire you a lawyer so that you may learn (how to) do your job.” The last time an election tribunal was moved against him, Mr Sadiq lost not only the speaker’s office, but also his National Assembly seat. The PML-N government, however, managed to have him re-elected as speaker following his subsequent re-election victory over PTI’s Aleem Khan. By being elected again, he became the first person in the country’s history to have been elected NA speaker twice in the same term.