Pervez Khattak to head panel for probe into poll rigging

Updated September 29, 2018

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Defence Minister Pervez Khattak. — File
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak. — File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided in principle to name Defence Minister Pervez Khattak as head of a parliamentary panel to probe allegations of rigging in the general elections, informed sources told Dawn on Friday.

The information surfaced a day after the government had agreed to the opposition’s demand that the parliamentary committee would also have members from the Senate.

The agreement was reached at a meeting presided over by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and attended by the representatives of major parties in the opposition and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

According to an official announcement, the two sides agreed that the 24-member committee would comprise 16 members from the lower house and eight from the upper house of parliament.

Earlier, the senators, particularly those belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party, had protested against the government’s decision to constitute a committee comprising members of the National Assembly only. They then asked Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to take up the matter with the NA speaker.

It was on Mr Sanjrani’s request that the NA speaker convened a meeting which was attended by the representatives of major political parties. Mr Sanjrani, Deputy Dpeaker Qasim Suri, former NA speaker and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ayaz Sadiq, PPP leader Khursheed Shah, Leader of the House in the Senate and PTI leader Shibli Faraz and his party’s MNA Farrukh Habib attended the meeting.

Previously the committee was supposed to comprise 20 members — 10 each from the treasury and opposition benches — of the National Assembly.

The joint opposition had also sent a list of 10 names to the government for their inclusion in the committee.The list included the names of Khursheed Shah, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Naveed Qamar from the PPP, Rana Sanaullah, Rana Tanveer and Murtaza Javed Abbasi from the PML-N, Sardar Akhtar Mengal from the BNP and representatives from the JUI-F and MQM-P.

The opposition has been protesting against alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections ever since the ballots were cast on July 25.

About two months after the general elections, the PTI government had finally agreed to set up the parliamentary committee comprising lawmakers to investigate rigging allegations.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2018