Subsequent to the appointment of the Chief Elections Commissioner on 24 March 2015, the one clause of the TORs, which attracted the maximum interest was the first one which said that the EC will be responsible to hold elections within the country and ABROAD. Since the OIC, whose Secretary is duly elected, has been holding elections of various chapters heretofore, it was assumed that their powers will be stripped. This caused maximum uncertainty and confusion, specially in the UK chapter, as elections there had been announced.
Since on assuming charge of the new responsibility entailed attending to a number of more pressing matters, i was able to get a briefing from the Secretary OIC only on 6th May. I requested him to send me a write up on the legal positions with reference to the party Constitution and rules thereunder. His note stated that OIC is declared a Special Organization (clause XX) in the party Constitution, akin to organization for Women, Labour etc which have their own bye laws under which they hold their elections.
My attention was also drawn to the contents of clause XVI which says that the EC is responsible to hold elections for the Central and Provincial Organization. From a plain reading of the Constitution it appears that the framers made a distinction between the mainstream party organizations and the Special Organization, for the purpose of running them.
On the other hand i have seen a stream of emails from overseas members of the party insinuating that EC take over control of overseas elections and saying that OIC has no right to hold elections.Since it was a matter important for the future of the development of our overseas organization i gave it serious consideration.
Nothing to suggest that party Constitution says anything contrary to what has been stipulated in clauses XX and XVI has been brought to my notice. I am, therefore constrained to believe that as the factual position. This would make the TORs, to the extent of assigning the task of holding elections abroad, in conflict with the party Constitution .For any organization which aspires to become an institution, it is important to abide by its own rules, or change them, if the they are perceived not to be in the interest of the party.
For the present, therefore, i see no reason to interfere with the process of elections announced by the OIC. TORs to the extent of the elections abroad may be deemed to have been amended. I would, however, recommend to the secretary OIC to re fix the schedule announced for the UK elections, as this uncertainty of the last 20 days may have upset the preparation of some candidates.
As for the future i see some merit in the building a role of the EC in the election process of overseas chapters, as the final arbiter and monitor.If the committee entrusted to review the party Constitution sees it fit, it may want to consider this suggestion for building into the new draft.
Chief Election Commissioner
PTI Election Commission