ISLAMABAD: As the controversy over the mysterious overnight disappearance of 20 presiding officers during the Daska by-poll in February last year continues to haunt those held responsible for the plot to rig the NA-75 election, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued notices to Usman Dar, then special assistant to the prime minister, Punjab chief minister’s special assistant Firdous Ashiq Awan and PTI’s central Punjab president Umar Dar to appear before it on August 30.
Three others also summoned by the ECP in the case were Asif Soni, Arif Soni and Iqbal.
The PTI leaders have been asked to explain their position about the role in ‘influencing’ the poll process on Feb 17 last year.
The commission had also conducted a fact-finding inquiry followed by a regular inquiry against all those suspected of involvement in corrupt practices. During the proceedings of inquiry, certain facts were revealed by the witnesses and the accused, which require further investigation.
The by-election in NA-75 (Sialkot-IV) was marred by violence after two people were killed and three others injured in a firing incident at a polling station in Daska, and in a rare happening as many as 20 presiding officers remained untraceable for the entire night following the conclusion of polling.
Meanwhile, the ECP on Wednesday disposed of appeals against the fine imposed on former prime minister Imran Khan and PTI secretary general Asad Umar for committing violations of the code of conduct during local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
A four-member ECP bench heard the matter, but none appeared on behalf of Mr Khan and Mr Umar to pursue their appeals challenging the imposition of fine. Therefore, the bench disposed of their applications.
The Dir district monitoring officer had initiated the case against the PTI leaders for violations of the code of conduct early this year.
The commission imposed a fine of Rs50,000 each on both PTI leaders while disposing of the appeals.
In a related development, the ECP bench dismissed a reference filed by ruling MNAs against Imran Khan with regard to alleged sale of precious gifts he had received from foreign dignitaries.
During the hearing, the counsel for the PTI chief argued that since a similar reference filed by the National Assembly speaker was already being heard by the ECP, one of them should be quashed.
The ECP disposed of the reference filed by the ruling lawmakers and scheduled the hearing on the Toshakhana reference moved by the NA speaker for August 29.
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2022
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