ISLAMABAD: The move by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to seek declaration of by-election in NA-122 (Lahore) null and void appeared to have rebounded on it, with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) finding affidavits on vote transfer submitted by the party `absolutely’ bogus.

“It has been observed by the Commission with serious concern that some affidavits filed by the petitioner were absolutely false and hence the commission reserves its authority/right to proceed against them in accordance with law after a final decision by the tribunal concerned,” an order passed by the commission said.

It rejected the petition filed by Aleem Khan of PTI, alleging that thousands of votes had been illegally transferred prior to the by-election in NA-122. The by-election was won by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

The commission held that proper and efficacious remedy was provided under Article 225 of the constitution, for which, the election petition of Mr Khan had already been referred to tribunal under section 56 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act, 1976.

“It was not pressed as well, having become otherwise infructuous,” the order said.

The commission gave access to the information sought by the petitioner about vote transfer in NA-122 under the Freedom of Information Act. The information includes copies of the record of voters recently included in the electoral rolls of 2015, record of numerous persons registered on a specific address after specifying the census blocks, copies of record of inclusion and exclusion and deletion of voters in the electoral rolls of 2015 and additions, if any, made in the electoral rolls after the announcement of the election schedule.

The order said that the inspection and copies of these documents would be available on payment of such fee as prescribed by rules.

An ECP official told Dawn that all affidavits submitted by Mr Khan had been found to be bogus and the record shows that votes had not been transferred there prior to by-elections.

He said that under the relevant sections of Pakistan Penal Code, fabricating false evidence may entail a punishment of up to seven years. He said the act was also tantamount to corrupt practices, which too was punishable under the Representation of Peoples Act. He said any punishment for a criminal act also entails disqualification observing that it could be a setback for the PTI.

ECP denotifies two Sindh MPAs

Meanwhile, the ECP de-notified former Sindh chief minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi as a member of the Sindh Assembly from PS-76 (Dadu) in pursuance of a judgment by the Supreme Court and issued a schedule for by-election in the constituency and set March 3 as the polling day.

The commission also de-notified Masroor Ahmad Khan Jatoi, son of former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Musatafa Jatoi, as a member of the Sindh Assembly from PS-23 (Naushehro Feroze).

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2016