ISLAMABAD: The Ele­c­tion Commission of Pak­istan (ECP) in its detailed judgement released on Fri­day explained reasons for rejecting the Pakistan Tehre­ek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) application for cross-examination of witnesses, inclu­ding bank officials concerned, declaring that the process for confiscation of prohibited funds received by the party has started.

The ECP in its order stated that entertaining the application for cross-examination at this stage would mean reopening the entire matter that had been decided in August last year. Current proceedings to execute the last year findings were about confiscation of the prohibited contributions or donations received by the party, it elaborated.

“The prayer for reopening or re-examination of the matter at this stage cannot be considered, as the proceedings in terms of Rule 6 of the Political Parties Rules (PPR) 2002 is execution of findings recor­ded in terms of section 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 by the commission,” the detailed order stated.

The order further mentioned that the instant proceedings in terms of Rule 6 of PPR only dealt with the confiscation of contributions or donations, which were declared ‘prohibited’ by the ECP. “There are only two requirements of Rule 6, firstly; the party shall be put on notice and, secondly, opportunity of being heard shall be gran­ted to the party and in the instant case, both requirements of the law, have been met,” the order says.

Orders recount of votes at 17 polling stations of Karachi

In its unanimous verdict, the ECP ruled on Aug 2, 2022 that the PTI had received ‘prohibited’ funding or contribution.

Recount of votes

Separately, the ECP ordered recount of votes at 17 polling stations of Karachi on a complaint filed by Jamaat-i-Islami’s Karachi chapter deputy chief and chairman of the party’s election cell, Arif Sultan Minhas.

Mr Minhas had lodged the complaint against alleged “post-poll rigging due to certain irregularities, illegalities” and demanded recount of votes and action against district returning officers and returning officers.

The ECP in its order stated, “After pursuing all the record and reports submitted by the inquiry committee, relevant ROs and DROs and other parties concerned, we have arrived at the conclusion that the instant complaint has substance warranting action by the commission in terms of Article 218(3) of the constitution, Section 95 (5) of the Elections Act, 2017, and Rule 40(4) of the Sindh Local Councils (Elections) Rules, 2015”.

“Therefore, recount of votes of the (17) polling stations…shall be carried out by the respective returning officers in the presence of respective district election commissioners who are directed to issue notices to all the concerned parties and the presiding officers to their officers, and conduct recounting of the votes and submit the reports to the office within three days. Since Mr Zulfiqar Ali, returning officer, UC-3, Orangi, was suspended by the commission due to his behaviour, the district returning officer concerned shall conduct recount in his place, if required pursuant to the instant order,” the ECP explained in its order.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2023

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