ISLAMABAD: The judicial commission formed to investigate alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections ordered 21 participating parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Thursday to present related evidence to support their statements regarding poll rigging.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan also appeared before the commission with his counsels Hafiz Peerzada and Jehangir Tareen and the party's task force to record statements regarding electoral rigging.
Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk headed the three-member bench comprising Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ejaz Afzal.
The commission appointed former prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) KK Agha to assist it in its investigation.
The commission stated that investigation in the case will take place according to the terms of reference in the Ordinance issued by President Mamnoon Hussain.
It also directed the participating political parties to refrain from giving media interviews in the Supreme Court precincts as it may influence the proceedings.
The commission also directed that the media should resort to simple reporting and not include opinions from legal experts on the matter despite the fact that open hearings were being conducted.
The judicial commission also sought records pertaining to thumbprint verification in 37 constituencies from National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Usman Yusuf and ordered for these to be submitted within three days' time.
The hearing of the case was subsequently adjourned to April 22.
Speaking to media representatives in the federal capital prior to his appearance before the commission, Khan said that this is the first time in the history of Pakistan that investigation will be conducted with regards to electoral rigging.
|Imran Khan gestures as he arrives at the Supreme Court to attend the first judicial commission hearing on the alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections. - AFP|
"Today is a red letter day for Pakistan's democracy," Khan said. "Whatever happens, Pakistan's democracy will strengthen."
Khan said that after the investigation has been completed, masses would find out the extent to which their mandate had been stolen during the elections.
|PTI chief arriving at the Supreme Court for the judicial commission hearing - AFP|
Know more: PTI forms team to prepare poll rigging case
Last week, PTI had constituted an eight-member task force to prepare and fight the party’s case before the judicial commission.
Senior PTI leader Ishaq Khan Khakwani has been appointed coordinator of the task force which also comprises five party leaders and three lawyers.
The members of the task force are MNA Dr Arif Alvi, president of the PTI’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter Azam Khan Swati, chief of its Punjab chapter Ejaz Chaudhry, former candidate of the Punjab Assembly from Lahore Shoaib Siddiqui and lawyers Farrukh Dall, Qaiser Abbas and Anees Hashmi.
The commission was formed earlier this month, following the Ordinance issued by President Mamnoon Hussain to proceed with the formation of a judicial commission which would investigate allegations of poll rigging, a demand made by PTI during the party's 126-day-long sit-in in Islamabad last year.
Chief government negotiator Ishaq Dar had said the commission would determine whether or not the last general elections truly reflected the will of the people, preferably within 45 days.
“In case the commission determines that the election results did not reflect the true mandate of the people, the national and provincial assemblies will be dissolved and followed by fresh elections. Otherwise, all of PTI’s allegations over the veracity of the election will stand withdrawn and the party will return to the National Assembly to play its democratic role,” Dar had said.