Home » Latest World News, Pakistan » ECP directs ROs to refrain from quizzing of candidates

nomination-papers-submissionIn a belated attempt to ward off criticism on the Returning Officers’ controversial questioning of candidates during scrutiny of nomination papers, the Election Commission of Pakistan has directed the ROs to refrain from ‘irrelevant’ quizzing of the nominees, ECP’s Director General Sher Afgan told reporters in Islamabad.

The nature of questions being asked by returning officers has attracted severe criticism from media, rights activists and political parties. However, the methodology was being defended until Friday by ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed who said Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution required the candidates to have ample knowledge of Islam.

Several candidates have had their nominations rejected on what are widely being viewed as flimsy grounds. Most prominent among those whose nominations were rejected is columnist Ayaz Amir. His nomination was rejected on the grounds that he wrote columns against the ideology of Pakistan and glorified the consumption of alcohol.

The scrutiny of nomination papers for the 2013 election candidates will continue until tomorrow.

Many believe that the latest ECP directive is a futile exercise as the scrutiny process will soon come to an end.

“Damage has already been done. The latest move is a damage control exercise to deflect criticism primarily arising out of Ayaz Amir’s case,” former Supreme Court Bar Association president and ex-member of ECP Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood told Dawn.com.

The former judge said the scrutiny process had also exposed the degree of competence of the returning officers working under the judiciary.

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