ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s counsel Abdul Hafeez Pirzada on Tuesday named the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the provincial Election Commission Punjab as responsible for alleged planned and systematic rigging during the 2013 general elections.
A three-member judicial commission headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk investigating rigging allegations in the 2013 general elections presided over the hearing. Presenting his arguments before the commission, Pirzada blamed that the ECP for failing to put in place an effective monitoring system.
He further added that the provincial election commissioner Punjab at the time of general elections delegated undue power to returning officers (ROs) with respect to printing of ballot papers.
Pirzada argued that these RO’s were mid-level district government employees who were given too much powers while they used different formulas to calculate ballot paper demand for national and provincial assembly seats from the same constituency. He alleged that the ECP only checked the election material in storage when the inquiry commission ordered it to do so.
According to PTI’s counsel, there is a pattern of rigging in constituencies where RO’s requested extra ballot papers and where large numbers of Forms XV were found to be missing.
He further argued that the then caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Najam Sethi has admitted that power slipped away from him after last cabinet meeting on April 25, 2013, pointing to influencing of elections.
The commission adjourned the hearing till tomorrow morning when Pirzada will wrap up his arguments.
Pirzada on Monday alleged that the ECP remained non-cooperative and did not produce documents which the PTI intended to present as evidence before the judicial commission.
Earlier ECP had said that opposition parties, including the PTI, had failed to provide any evidence regarding “systematic and planned rigging” in the 2013 general elections and declared that the results of the polls were a “true reflection” of the people’s mandate.
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