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IHC revokes ECP ban on recruitments, uplift works

By Our Staff Reporter 2018-05-11
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday set aside a notification of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that had imposed a ban on recruitments in government departments and development activities in constituencies before the coming general elections in the country.

The ECP had on April 11 barred the federal and provincial governments from hiring in all institutions, working on development plans approved on April 1 or after it and transferring funds for ongoing projectsahead of the general elections.

The move was aimed at discouraging any pre-poll rigging by using government jobs as incentive.

The provincial governments brought the matter to the notice of the Supreme Court which referred it to the IHC. The apex court on April 24 asked the IHC to issue an order in the matter in a week`s time.

Arguing before the IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, the counsel for the provincial governments said that the ECP had usurped the powers of the governments two months ahead of the expiry of their constitutional term.

The provincial governments claimed that the ECP had interfered in the domain of the executive and that its decision had caused inconvenience to the public at large.

According to the counsel, the ECP could only issue such directives after issuing the election schedule.

The ECP, on its part,defended the ban on recruitment and development activities, saying that it had been done to ensure a fair and transparent election process.

Earlier before the apex court, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob said that the commission had imposed the ban on the recruitment to curb pre-poll rigging.

The chief justice of Pakistan had asked the ECP secretary whether or not the commission had specific powers to impose a ban on development schemes and recruitment.

The secretary replied that the April 11 notification was issued in the light of the 2013`s Supreme Court verdict in the Workers Party case. In the judgement, he added, the SC had directed the ECP to conduct polls and make arrangements necessary to ensure that polls are conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded-against in terms of Article 218(3) of the Constitution.