- PTI’s counsel tells JC that ‘too much powers’ were given to ROs who ‘used different formulas’ to calculate ballot papers printing demand
- Khan claims Forms 15 from NA-21, NA-125 do not match with their copies as ROs ‘forgot to tally serial numbers’, accuses them of forgery
Presenting his case before the three-member judicial commission, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Nasirul Mulk, investigating alleged rigging in last general elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s counsel Abdul Hafeez Pirzada on Tuesday held the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Punjab Election Commission responsible for “planned and systematic rigging” during the polls.
Pirzada blamed the ECP for failing to put in place an effective monitoring system while contending that the Punjab election commissioner delegated undue powers to returning officers (ROs) with respect to ballot papers printing.
The PTI’s counsel argued that these ROs were mid-level district government employees who were given “too much powers” and consequently they “used different formulas” to calculate ballot papers demand for national and provincial assembly seats for the constituencies.
Moreover, Pirzada alleged that the ECP only checked the election material in storage when the enquiry commission ordered it to do so.
According to PTI’s counsel, there is a pattern of rigging in constituencies where ROs requested extra ballot papers and where large numbers of Forms XV were missing.
He further argued that the caretaker Punjab chief minister Najam Sethi had admitted that “power slipped away from him” after last cabinet meeting on April 25, 2013. The statement pointed towards elections being “influenced”, he deduced.
The commission adjourned the hearing till Wednesday morning when Pirzada will wrap up his arguments.
Previously on Monday, the PTI’s counsel had alleged that the ECP remained “non-cooperative” and did not produce documents which the PTI intended to present as evidence before the judicial commission.
‘HASTE MAKES WASTE’:
In the meanwhile, commenting on the ongoing probe, PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday told reporters in the federal capital that Forms 15 from one polling station should be the same in both copies but the ROs “forgot to tally serial numbers while filling up the forms in haste”.
“In NA-21, the Form 15 extracted from bags is empty; but when a copy is called to the judicial commission, it is magically filled up,” Khan claimed, adding that similar issue arose in NA-125 constituency where the forms from the bags did not match with their supposed copies.
Moreover, Khan claimed that the role of Punjab Election Commission officials had unveiled as they gave “carte blanche to ROs who were jittery and nervous while testifying in court”.
The PTI chief said he will not say anything about the role of chief election commissioner (CEC), who took over after the elections, but it is the provincial election commission that must be held accountable.