ISLAMABAD: Not happy with the state of affairs, the poll inquiry commission summoned on Tuesday the returning officers (ROs) who conducted the 2013 polls in the 11 National Assembly constituencies where extra ballot papers were printed in excess of 10 per cent than the registered voters.
The ROs will give the commission the reason for requisitioning the extra ballot papers.
Headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, the three-man commission also asked the ROs to come up with all the relevant material and documents they possessed.
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On a request of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf counsel Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, the commission ordered the National Database and Registration Authority to produce before it the pre-scanning reports of 40 constituencies which they had prepared on the orders of election tribunals.
“We had given the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the direction on Monday to retrieve Forms-15 from the ROs with the purpose to see whether 100pc Forms-15 are available or not,” the chief justice observed.
“But the situation at the moment is that still there are a number of constituencies where up to 25pc Forms-15 are missing. “This does not give a good indication.”
The commission had already alerted the ROs of these constituencies, the chief justice deplored.
The orders for calling the ROs were issued after ECP counsel Salman Akram Raja provided a comparative study of these 11 constituencies, suggesting the percentage of Forms-15 available after the ECP filled the gap by providing the same after retrieving it from the ROs.
According to a chart, the percentage of missing Forms-15 dropped to 0.91 from earlier 21.95 in NA-21 Mansehra II (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) from where Capt Mohammad Safdar of PML-N had won the seat. The percentage in NA-34 Lower Dir from where Sahibzada Mohammad Yaqub of the Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam was the winner dipped to 4.55 from 33.44. The percentage declined to 8.93 from 52.68 in NA-43 Tribal Area-8 from where independent Bismillah Khan was declared as candidate returned. In NA-53 Rawalpindi from where Ghulam Sarwar Khan of the PTI won the elections the percentage dropped to 5.88 from 48.61.
In NA-118 Lahore-I from where Mohammad Riaz Malik of the PML-N declared successful the percentage declined to 8.43 from 80. In NA-119 Lahore-II from where Mohammad Hamza Shahbaz of the PML-N won the seat the percentage dropped to 21.63 from 25.53. In NA-125 Lahore-VIII from where Khawaja Saad Rafique of the PML-N won the election the percentage dropped to 30.94 from75. In NA-171 D.G. Khan-I from where Amjad Farooq Khosa of the PML-N succeeded the percentage decreased to 8.41 from 8.72 and in NA-222 Hyderabad from where PPPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar won the election the percentage dropped to 0.83 from 33.06.
Salman Akram Raja conceded before the commission that ROs of NA-130 Lahore-13 from where Sohail Shaukat Butt of PML-N and NA-157 Khanewal-II from where Mohammad Khan Daha of PML-N had won the seats were not responsive. However, the ECP teams had gone to these constituencies to retrieve the required documents.
Since the number of missing Forms-15 is still substantial, the counsel argued, the ECP had submitted Forms 14 and 16 which showed the consolidation of election results was largely not wrong. He pleaded before the commission to allow the exhibition of Form 14.
But Mr Pirzada requested the commission to reject the injection of new material by the ECP which had been shifting its position regularly.
Mr Pirzada furnished before the commission one pre-scanning report done in NA-154 from where PTI Secretary General Jehangir Tareen had lost the election. He said electoral rolls in 128 male and 138 female polling stations were missing besides around 25,000 votes were polled on bogus identity cards in the constituency.
“The forensic analysis is of immense importance,” the counsel emphasised. “Will it not hamper the elections if electoral rolls were not available?”
Shahid Hamid representing PML-N supported the idea of summoning the ROs of 11 constituencies and suggested that the commission if considered it right could also summon Forms-15 available with Fafen.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2015