The three-member commission which is headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, and also comprises Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Amir Hani Muslim, held a total of 39 hearings.
The first meeting of the commission was held on April 9 while the inquiry which was initially planned to be completed within 45 days, was concluded after 86 days.
Prior to reserving its decision, the inquiry commission recorded the statements of witnesses belonging to all political parties.
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) counsel Salman Akram Raja argued that “technical errors are a normal occurrence in elections all over the world”. Elections are never free of errors, he said.
Raja maintained that the 12 applications submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) could not prove that the elections were rigged, adding that it would be wrong to say that somebody’s mandate was stolen in the 2013 elections.
“ECP received no evidence that would prove organised rigging in the 2013 general elections,” he said.
He argued that the difference in the number of ballot papers printed for various constituencies was due to two different formulas under which the ballot papers were printed.
According to Raja, the ECP cannot anticipate the turnout of voters. He stressed that the ECP is bound under the constitution to expect 100 per cent turnout and print ballot papers as per the number of registered voters.
He further said that only Punjab ensured that there was no shortfall of ballot papers.
On the issue of fake CNIC numbers on counterfoils, Raja said the misprintings of CNIC numbers were typos, which did not render a vote bogus.
Raja however admitted that there were procedural lapses which can be addressed through reforms.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan announced the formation of the inquiry commission on April 9 to probe the alleged rigging in the 2013 general election.
The commission was formed following the Ordinance issued by President Mamnoon Hussain to proceed with the formation of a judicial commission which would investigate allegations of poll rigging, a demand made by the PTI during the party’s 126-day-long sit-in in Islamabad last year.
The decision to setup the commission was taken by the ruling PML-N after an agreement with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on April 1 on its terms of reference after months of political bickering which reached its pinnacle when the PTI held its sit-in at the D-Chowk near the Parliament House in the federal capital.
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— The Daily Mail - People's Daily