The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, a recently restored Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), had political leanings that may interfere with his ability to perform his constitutionally mandated duties if he continues to serve as the divisional head during the Punjab elections.
To be included as a party to the current petition and be heard appropriately in the interest of justice, the ECP has filed a civil unusual application with the supreme court.
According to a five-page application that the ECP submitted to the supreme court “It is considered the view of the commission that without reshuffling of such partisan officers, free and fair elections shall not be possible in line with Article 218…and Section 230 of the Elections Act 2017 (functions of the caretaker government).”
“The incumbent officer has inclinations towards a particular political party [PTI]…the commission has reasons to believe that he will not be able to fulfil its constitutional duties if the officer remains the head of the [Lahore] division during the conduct of the provincial assembly elections in Lahore,” the application highlighted.
According to the ECP, transfers and posts were the government’s prerogative and no individual officer could claim any entitlement to a posting of his choice. “It is not understandable as to why the incumbent officer is interested in a particular posting of his choice station,” the ECP claimed.
The caretaker administration received instructions from the ECP on January 22, 2023, according to the court application, to maintain a level playing field for the competing candidates and political parties. On January 26, similar letters were sent to the chief secretaries of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The application further mentioned how Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja was invited before the Supreme Court on February 16 to discuss the situation.