ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja has said that he has no intention of tendering his resignation, and will continue to work in the “best interests of the country”.
Raja’s statement comes a day after PTI Chairman Imran Khan called for his resignation, saying the party believed him to be “biased”. Addressing a press conference at his Bani Gala residence, Imran had said the PTI did not trust the CEC, alleging all his decisions were against the party.
Speaking to DawnNews on Saturday night, Raja rejected Imran’s demand for his resignation. “I have no intention of tendering my resignation,” he said, adding that there was no valid reason to “think like that”. “I am working in the best interests of the country and shall continue to do so,” he added.
Last week, Imran had claimed that Raja’s name for the CEC office was suggested by the establishment.
Speaking to journalists about a range of issues at an informal meeting at his Bani Gala residence, the former prime minister alleged that Raja’s name was proposed by the establishment after a deadlock between the then government and the opposition, suggesting the chief election commissioner should be appointed through an independent body.
Imran had stated that the PTI would file a reference against the CEC, as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had displayed “incompetence” by not completing the delimitation of constituencies on time, which delayed early elections.
At a rally held in Lahore on Thursday, the PTI chairman had reiterated allegations of Raja being biased, stating that his leanings were so obvious that “he should be given a PML-N office position”.
Meanwhile, the PML-N claimed that Imran was targeting the CEC through a fake narrative ahead of the ECP’s verdict in the PTI’s foreign funding case.
Raja, who was appointed in January 2020, is the first-ever ex-bureaucrat to be heading the country’s apex electoral body.
The decision was made by a 12-member bipartisan parliamentary panel after several months of back and forth about key appointments to the ECP, which was later forwarded to the prime minister for his approval.
PTI leader Shireen Mazari, who was the human rights minister at the time and heading the parliamentary body, had welcomed the decision.
“Parliamentarians have taken a decision, which was their responsibility. Parliamentary matters should be decided by parliament,” Mazari had said while announcing the end of a deadlock that had kept the ECP dysfunctional for at least one-and-a-half months.