ECP meets today to decide on Daska by-poll irregularities

Published February 23, 2021
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja will preside over the meeting which will be attended by all the four members and senior officials of the ECP.  — AFP/File
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja will preside over the meeting which will be attended by all the four members and senior officials of the ECP. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP) will meet on Tuesday (today) to decide on alleged ‘disappearance’ of about two dozen presiding officers and suspected tampering of NA-75 Daska by-election results.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja will preside over the meeting which will be attended by all the four members and senior officials of the ECP.

Sources told Dawn that the district returning officer (DRO) will appear before the ECP and submit his report. In the light of DRO’s findings, the commission will decide whether to announce the unconfirmed and unofficial results or not. The other options to be considered are re-polling at 20 polling stations, where the results are suspected to have been tampered with, or fresh polls in the entire constituency.

The sources said the ECP would also take a decision on the matter pertaining to clashes between the workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the constituency. The commission had directed the inspector general of police (of Punjab) to take action against all those responsible and submit a report to it by February 22.

Commission consults political parties on code of conduct for Senate elections

The sources said the IGP had not submitted the report. Now the ECP will also decide if there was a need to hold an inquiry or pass direct orders.

Meanwhile, the ECP on Monday consulted the political parties on the code of conduct for the Senate elections.

Talking to reporters, PML-N vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the ECP to hold ‘live’ investigation and hearing into the Daska incidents so that the facts could be known to all.

“We have Form 45s [that were] issued by the presiding officers before being abducted. The ECP should announce victory of PML-N,” he remarked.

ANP’s Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters that his party had proposed that those who joined political parties just before the elections and managed to purchase tickets should be banned.

He said it was also suggested that along with state institutions, the respect of parliament should also be part of the code. He said the commission had promised to incorporate the proposal in the final draft.

Taj Haider of the PPP pointed out that under the law there was a sentence of three years’ imprisonment if the charge of sale and purchase of a vote is proved. He said the election could be made transparent by strictly implementing Section 168 of the Elections Act, which deals with bribery.

In a related development, the ECP asked the PML-N to submit more pieces of evidence in the 2018 Senate election video scandal.

A five-member ECP bench, headed by CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the case. Mr Raja remarked that the commission would examine further evidence and take action accordingly.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021

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