ECP rejects plea to block Gilani’s victory notification

Published March 10, 2021
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (right) and Yousuf Raza Gilani address a press conference on March 3, 2021. — DawnNewsTV/File
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (right) and Yousuf Raza Gilani address a press conference on March 3, 2021. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) seeking to stop the issuance of a notification of Senator-elect Yousuf Raza Gilani’s victory.

The ECP asked the PTI to file an amended petition and make the lawmakers, who it alleged had been bribed, a party.

Senator-elect from Punjab Barrister Ali Zafar while appearing before the commission as counsel for the ruling PTI alleged that the Senate polls had been rigged through money and party tickets offer.

Referring to Ali Haider Gilani’s video in which he explained to some PTI lawmakers a technique for making their votes invalid, Barrister Zafar said there was evidence of pre-poll rigging.

Asks PTI to make its ‘bribed’ lawmakers also a party in amended petition

On this, ECP member from Punjab retired Justice Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi said the PTI lawyer had already provided the transcript of the leaked video. He asked for making those alleged to have been bribed as party in the case over which, Barrister Zafar said that they could not be made party but the commission could summon them as witnesses.

“The ones who bribe and those who take it are equally responsible for an offence,” the ECP member observed.

The petition filed last week by ruling PTI lawmakers Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Bokhari and Kanwal Shauzab asked the ECP not to issue the notification about the opposition candidate’s victory in Senate elections.

The petition had been filed on the basis of a leaked audio clip of Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah purportedly bargaining with four PTI lawmakers for their votes in Senate elections and a video of Mr Gilani’s son Ali Haider Gilani in which he was explaining to some PTI MNAs the techniques to waste their votes.

On Monday, the ECP while accepting PTI’s petition for early hearing of its plea seeking disqualification of senator-elect Gilani fixed the hearing for March 9 instead of March 11. “The matter is extremely important as a senator elected with corrupt practices is now aspiring to become the chairman of Senate,” the petitioner alleged.

They expressed the hope that the ECP would hear the matter urgently, as it heard the issue related to by-election in NA-75, Daska.

Meanwhile, Ali Haider Gilani admitted to his conversation with PTI lawmakers in the video, but said he was just responding to their question as to what to do if the votes were made traceable by a barcode. He, however, said he had made no attempt to ‘buy’ votes.

Senator-elect Gilani also defended his son, saying that they were seeking votes from all MNAs as they formed the electoral college for Senate elections. He said he had also contacted Prime Minister Imran Khan in this connection.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2021

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