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Minister faces flak for supporting Nawaz Sharif

ECP has sought the record of the minister’s media statement

Gulf News

Islamabad: The interior minister in Pakistan’s caretaker government has come under pressure from political parties over his reported remarks in favour of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of the reported remarks of caretaker federal interior minister Malek Habib Khan, officials said Tuesday. It has sought the record of the minister’s media statement.

The Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and other parties have demanded the minister’s resignation.

The interior minister, speaking to media on Tuesday, clarified that he had mentioned Sharif’s name regarding categorisation of leaders for the purpose of security arrangements.

He said his remarks were misconstrued and asserted that had no political affiliation and was absolutely impartial.

The minister said he would provide assistance required by provincial caretaker set-ups for maintenance of law and order for peaceful holding of the forthcoming general elections.

ECP officials said Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim has written a letter to all political parties advising them to follow the code of conduct and maintain harmony during the elections.

It has been stressed by the ECP chief that the election process would not be allowed to be sabotaged and every effort would be made to establish a conducive atmosphere for the polls.

Appellate tribunals set up by the ECP on Tuesday started receiving appeals against acceptance and rejection of nomination papers by Returning Officers for general elections.

Appeals can be filed by Thursday which will be disposed of up to April 17 by the tribunals comprising high court judges.

The final list of contesting candidates will be published on April 19 and the polling for general seats of National Assembly and four provincial assemblies will take place on May 11.