The Election Commission of Pakistan
is an independent and autonomous constitutional body charged with the function of conducting transparent, free, fair and impartial elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies. The holding of elections to the office of the President and the Senate are, however, the functions of the Chief Election Commissioner. Under the existing laws the conduct of Local Government Elections is also the responsibility of the Chief Election Commissioner.
Under the Election Commission Order, 2002 (Chief Executive's Order No.1 of 2002), the Election Commission consists of the Chairman (Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan) and four Members each drawn from the sitting judges of the High Courts of their respective Provinces. All the executive authorities in the Federation and in the provinces are constitutionally duty bound to assist the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of his or its functions.
The Election Commission of Pakistan enjoys full financial and administrative autonomy and works independently of all government control.
The Election Commission performs its functions without interference of the executive. The Election Schedule for the conduct of General Elections as well as for the bye-elections is decided by the Election Commission or, as the case may be, by the Chief Election Commissioner.
The preparation of polling schemes, the appointment of polling personnel, assignments of voters and arrangements for the maintenance of law and order are under the control, supervision and directions of the Election Commission.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court is the apex court in Pakistan's judicial hierarchy, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional disputes. The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It has number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. It has a number of de jure powers which are outlined in the...
in its judgment reported as Election Commission of Pakistan v. Javed Hashmi
(PLD 1989 SC 396) held that in election matters the Election Tribunals appointed by the Chief Election Commissioner have exclusive jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of all courts in such matters was excluded. However, this is subject to an exception that where no legal remedy is available to an aggrieved party during the process of election or after its completion, against an order of an election functionary which is patently illegal/without jurisdiction and the effect of which is to defranchise a candidate, he can press into service Constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has since then consistently followed this judgment.
Transaction of business
The Commission transacts its business by holding meetings. All members of the Election Commission have equal status and say in the decisions of the Commission.
Judicial review of the decisions of the Election Commission can be sought in the High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan if the order suffers from a jurisdictional defect or is mala fide or coram non judice.
Budget and expenditure
The budget of the Election Commission is provided by the federal government.
Any re-appropriation within the sanctioned budget can be done by the Chief Election Commissioner without making any reference to the Finance Division.
Funds required for preparation of electoral rolls and the conduct of General Elections and bye-elections are provided in lump sum by the Finance Division according to the requirements of the Election Commission.
Further distribution of funds to the various functionaries is done with the approval of the Chief Election Commissioner.
The Election Support Group
The Election Support Group is an internationally sponsored organization which means to provide analysis and support to the electoral process in Pakistan. The secretariat for the group is the Pakistan branch of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.-Activities:ESG made 32 major...
, an internationally supported group of interested parties, made 32 specific recommendations to the Election Commission based on the recommendations of 16 international organizations. A meeting was held in October 2009 to present these ideas to the Commission. The Commission commissioned ESG to provide them with a recommendations on how to best solve the addressed problems.
Also, in 2006, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1987. This Washington, D. C.-based development organization provides assistance and support for elections in new and emerging democracies...
implemented a 9 million dollar contract through USAID to install a computerised electoral rolls system for the Pakistani government.