In a milieu where blatant acts of injustice at the hands of favourites of the ruling classes go unchecked, it is commendable to see Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) Secretary Istiak Ahmed Khan sticking to his stand against a ruling party candidate in a recent by-election, who slapped and manhandled two ECP officials. He has resigned because of the reportedly ‘soft’ position taken by Chief Election Commission Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza against Waheeda Shah, the accused, while the Secretary had First Information Report (FIR) registered against her and is not in a mood to soften his position. In any case, the matter cannot be hushed up now, as the ECP, allegedly under instructions from the CEC, had tried to do through a reconciliation announced at a joint press conference by the victim and the accused. The matter, in the meantime, caught the attention of the Supreme Court and it has taken a suo moto notice of it. Rejecting an apology from Waheeda Shah, the court observed on Friday that the slapping incident was more serious than the killing of a youth by the Rangers. It further stated that the ECP and the Sindh police failed to take prompt action.

Waheeda Shah, a Sindh Assembly PPP candidate from Tando Muhammad Khan, was caught by TV cameras repeatedly slapping a woman official of the ECP and yet for the CEC to have adopted, allegedly, an attitude that tends to favour the accused ruling party candidate would obviously raise many an eyebrow. And questions about his close association with the PPP would be raised, as some reports appearing in the press have openly done. It is high time that such cases must be tried and if the accused is found guilty severely punished to serve as a lesson for others.