ISLAMABAD: The core committee of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has cautioned the government against complacency regarding the party’s demand for the constitution of a judicial commission to investigate alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.
The meeting was held at party chief Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence before he left for London on Sunday. A statement issued after the meeting said: “PTI’s conciliatory approach [adopted] in the national interest should not be taken as a sign of a lack of resolve to have the May 2013 elections investigated by an independent, inquisitorial judicial commission. PTI had called off its street protest and its Azadi Chowk dharna but it retains all these options.”
The core committee unanimously held that the party had gone the extra mile in accommodating the government in this time of crisis so that “the party should not be seen as in any way impeding the national cohesion to fight terrorism”.
The statement further said that despite its aversion to military courts in principle, the PTI had supported the government in the interest of fighting terrorism.
Imran Khan leaves for London after presiding over his party’s core committee meeting
However, the core committee clarified in the statement, “This should not be taken as a sign that PTI is in any way moving away from its demand of an independent inquiry into the May 2013 electoral rigging.”
The negotiating team, the statement said, had shown a great deal of flexibility over the past few days.
Currently, according to the statement, negotiations continue to be deadlocked over three critical issues that the government had earlier agreed to.
Neither the government nor the PTI have explained what those critical issues are but sources close to both sides told Dawn that the disagreement was primarily around the definition of rigging, the status of the findings of the judicial commission and the timeframe of the commission’s work.
The government on the other hand argues that whatever findings of the judicial commission, they should be dealt under Article 225 of the constitution which says “no election to a house or a provincial assembly shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such tribunal and in such manner as may be determined by Act of Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament).”
Whereas, the PTI contends a judicial commission with special powers should be formulated through a presidential ordinance which if finds out that rigging was committed in selected number of constituencies, the government should go home followed by fresh elections.
Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2014