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ECP asks KP interim CM to remove cabinet members ‘involved in politics’

A security office walks past a board of ECP  outside its office. — AFP/File
  • Directives issued in a letter sent by ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan.
  • Some cabinet members appointed against spirit of interim govt: ECP.
  • Asks CM to de-notify cabinet members involved in politics immediately.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday directed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan to immediately “de-notify” ministers, advisers and special assistants “involved in politics”.

The directives were issued in a letter sent by Secretary Omar Hamid Khan on behalf of the election organising authority to the interim chief minister.

In the letter, the ECP briefed the interim CM on Article 218(3) and the role the caretaker setup plays in the conduct of the elections.

“The caretaker government including cabinet members, advisers, special assistants and other relevant functionaries can only provide an objective environment if they do not involve themselves in politics and election campaigns in violation of provisions of Section 230 (1)(d) and 2(g) of the Elections Act, 2017,” the secretary said in the letter.

The ECP regretted that it had noticed that some cabinet members were “appointed on the basis of political affiliations”. It also cited the example of Shahid Khattak, the former interim transport minister, who resigned after he was found indulging in “political activities”.

The electoral body regretted that the “attitude” of some cabinet members was “against the very spirit” of the caretaker government that has been envisioned in the Constitution and the Elections Act 2017.

“In view of the foregoing, the Election Commission has desired to request you while keeping the interim cabinet members at a minimum, to review the above said appointments (in light of the criteria as laid down in the above-said provisions of the Election Laws) and to de-notify such Ministers, Advisers and Special Assistants which are involved in politics immediately, so that free, fair and transparent elections are ensured for future,” the ECP added.

Multiple parties have complained about the interim setup in KP. According to The News, the majority of the caretaker cabinet members are either affiliated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) or their appointees.

Last week, Shahid Khan Khattak, KP caretaker minister for transport, had to tender his resignation after he faced criticism when he addressed a public meeting in the Nowshera district recently.

The ECP back then had also called the interim KP CM to remove Khattak from his post.

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