Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Wednesday demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) appoint provincial election commissioners and postpone its ban on the recruitment of public servants until a date for the elections is announced.
"The election commissioner has been misguided,” PPP’s Shah said while talking to the media. He said that the ECP has gained greater autonomy after the 18th Amendment, leaving no reason for its failure.
"The coming general elections will be a test for the ECP,” he said, demanding that senior officers be appointed as provincial elections commissioners. "Otherwise, doubts and suspicions will arise,” he said.
He then criticised the ECP for imposing a temporary ban on the recruitment of public servants and the allocation of funds for development schemes until elections are held, saying that this was an unprecedented decision.
Shah later wrote to the commission stating that the timing of the ban was unhelpful and that it should have come into force only after the date of the elections had been announced.
"These actions are appreciated; however, these [orders] seem to have been issued too early,” the letter read, adding that blocking the funds would affecting the smooth running of government affairs.
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) is already hearing a petition by a provincial minister challenging the ECP’s orders, who has argued that the commission has overstepped its authority in issuing them.
Meanwhile, with less than 45 days remaining in the tenure of the incumbent government, the ECP has stepped up its preparations for the 2018 general elections.