Articles 62, 63 to be applied on presidential election: ECP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected a government’s request to postpone presidential election till Eid and by-elections on several vacant provincial and National Assembly seats.

By Afzal Khan

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Published: Mon 22 Jul 2013, 11:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:49 PM

Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim while dismissing the government plea observed a schedule for presidential poll has already been announced to meet requirements of the Constitution and any change would be its violation. The poll will be held on August 6.

Meanwhile in a significant development, the ECP has decided to make disqualification clause of the constitution applicable to presidential candidates.

The ECP will obtain a declaration from presidential candidates affirming that they fulfil the qualifications specified in Article 62 of the constitution and that they are not hit by any of the disqualifications specified in Article 63, or any other law for the time being in force for being elected as the president of Pakistan.

The ECP amended the rule under pressure from the military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf, governing the presidential election, on September 10, 2007, to take away the provision for disqualification of presidential candidates — less than a month before the polls comfortably won by the then military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf. Key opposition leaders, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, were in exile at that time.

The amendment in the presidential election rules, which is still in force, was kept a guarded secret by the ECP until it was disclosed by former minister for parliamentary affairs, Dr Sher Afgan.

Under the defunct section 5(3)(a) of the presidential election rules, the returning officer was empowered to conduct a summary inquiry and reject any nomination paper after determining that the candidate concerned was disqualified under the constitution to be elected as president. The section was simply struck off.

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