Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Unfortunate that Parliamentarians buy, sell votes: CEC

ECP hears suo motu case on reports of horse-trading in Senate elections

ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan said on Wednesday that it is unfortunate that those who sell their vote and those who buy it are both members of Parliament. 

The CEC made the remarks as a five-member bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) heard its suo motu notice of reports of horse-trading in the March 3 Senate elections. 

The CEC observed during the hearing that the buying and selling of votes is a crime, adding that he wants political parties to assist the ECP in this regard. 

Eight parliamentarians had been summoned by the ECP today to assist it in the case. 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Farooq Sattar were represented by their counsels whereas State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb appeared in person today. 

PTI chief's counsel, Shahid Gondal, informed the ECP that the party has formed an investigating committee to probe reports of horse-trading and will submit a final report in this regard when the inquiry is complete. Later, addressing the media, Gondal said the party will ensure complete cooperation with the ECP in this regard. 

Moreover, the MQM-P submitted a request to the ECP seeking an inquiry into reports of horse-trading in the Sindh Assembly. 

Other party leaders also submitted similar requests and documents to the ECP. 

The next hearing of the case will be held on April 4, when the ECP has summoned party leaders and lawmakers to assist it in the case.

On March 3, 52 senators were elected to the Upper House of Parliament, with the majority backed by the ruling party — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

On March 12, in a surprise for the ruling party, the opposition managed to get its chairman and deputy chairman elected in the Senate despite being a minority.