A district election commissioner in Faisalabad, performing duties for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has decided to file a complaint against ECP Chief, Sikandar Sultan Raja, for alleged abuse of administrative authority.
The official, Irfan Kausar, is also challenging the appointments of key ECP officers, including Secretary Omar Hamid Khan.
Kausar stated his intention to follow Adnan Bashir, another ECP officer who had previously filed a reference against the ECP chief with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), in letters to the ECP secretary.
In Kausar’s complaint against Raja, he is accused of obtaining lucrative postings for the extended family of bureaucrats, spending tax dollars at a time of financial stress, and using undue influence to advance personal financial interests, including real estate and private businesses.
Kausar further asserts Raja abused administrative power, disregarded constitutional directives, and tainted the ECP’s administrative foundation in an effort to sway general elections.
He also seeks a statement of assets of CEC Raja and his dependents, minutes of Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) meetings, and allocations made to the Public Works Department in the financial year 2022-23.
A copy of service rules along with amendments, and the seniority list of the ECP officers were also demanded.
Kausar also plans to challenge the appointments of Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal Hussain, and Additional Secretary (HR) Khalid Siddique, who he claims were unlawfully appointed.
In letters addressed to President Arif Alvi, the National Assembly speaker, the Senate chairman, and members of parliament, Kausar highlights the alleged illegal appointments made in the absence of service rules.
According to him, the ECP chief has “sole administrative authority without the oversight of the commission in the absence of the service rules,”
Creating an organisational structure for the ECP that is subject to the commissioner’s appointment to senior administrative positions of his former coworkers and classmates. According to the letter, mid-career ECP cadre officers are being promoted at random.
The allegations made by DEC Irfan Kausar against ECP Chief Sikandar Sultan Raja are grave and worrying, and if his appointments are challenged, the organisational structure of the ECP may undergo significant changes.
Although it is uncertain whether the Supreme Judicial Council will take up the reference against Raja, the circumstance emphasises the value of transparent and equitable hiring practises within government institutions.