PML-N wants SC to punish ‘abductors’ of election officials in Daska

Published April 2, 2021
"Those (people) are responsible for it who are today talking about electoral reforms," says Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. —Reuters/File
"Those (people) are responsible for it who are today talking about electoral reforms," says Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. —Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has expressed the hope that the Supreme Court will not restrict itself merely to the decision about re-polling in the whole constituency or in a few polling stations, but it will also award punishment to those who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of 20 presiding officers (POs) during the by-poll held in February.

“It is binding on the SC to find out those who were behind the kidnapping of the POs. The government is responsible for it. Those (people) are responsible for it who are today talking about electoral reforms,” said PML-N’s senior vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at a news conference with other office-bearers of the party after attending a consultative meeting of the party, presided over by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif through video link from London on Thursday.

Mr Abbasi said that the Daska by-poll episode was a replay of what had happened in the 2018 general elections when the Result Transmission System (RTS) was shut down and many POs had gone missing.

Speaking on the occasion, PML-N’s secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said the geo-fencing report submitted by the ECP in the court about the whereabouts of the missing elections officials had proved that an “organised rigging” had been committed in the election.

Seeks re-polling in the entire constituency

He said this was for the first time that “a government has been caught while committing organised rigging”.

Mr Iqbal said that the “abduction” of the 20 presiding officers (POs) had made the entire election process in the constituency doubtful and expressed the hope that the court would announce re-poll in the entire constituency and not in the 20 polling stations.

“The real issue is not the re-poll (in the constituency). The SC is required to show the same activity which it had carried out while taking up a presumed Panama Leaks report by forming a joint investigation team giving it one month time to present the report. This is more serious issue than the Pana­ma (Leaks),” said Mr Iqbal, expressing the hope that the Supreme Court would not let the issue be clo­s­ed without catching and punishing the real culprits behind the kid­napping of the presiding officers.

“If the re-polling is limited to just 20 polling stations then it will amount to giving a bailout package to those who have stolen the election and the people’s mandate,” he said, adding that the people responsible for it should be given an exemplary punishment.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2021

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