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Tuesday Feb 23 2021
Web Desk

NA-75 by-elections: ECP likely to decide on announcement of unofficial results today

Web Desk
File photo of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)
  • ECP is likely to meet and decide on the matter of rigging in the NA-75 polls today
  • Sources say a preliminary inquiry report has been completed and sent to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja
  • CEC has summoned Ali Asjad and Nosheen, both leading candidates, belonging to the PTI and PML-N respectively

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is likely to meet today (Tuesday) and decide on the issue of the suspected tampering of results and the alleged disappearance of 20 presiding officers during the NA-75 Daska by-polls, The News reported.

Sources say a preliminary inquiry report has been completed and sent to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, who will preside over the meeting. It will be attended by all four ECP members and senior officials of the commission.

The commission is expected to decide in light of the inquiry committee findings whether or not to announce the unconfirmed and unofficial results of NA-75.

Provincial Election Commissioner Ghulam Israr Khan visited on Monday the offices of the district returning officer in Daska and inspected the election material. 

Read more: Daska by-election: PM Imran Khan requests PTI candidate to 'ask for re-polling' in 20 polling stations

Sources say the CEC has summoned Ali Asjad and Nosheen, both leading candidates belonging to the PTI and PML-N respectively, to the federal capital.

The DRO will submit a detailed report, prepared by a three-member inquiry committee on the events of the election day.

Detailed investigation

Sources said the committee had conducted a detailed investigation of 17 out of 20 "missing" presiding officers, while the other three have not appeared before the committee so far. 

All 17 presiding officers failed to satisfy the inquiry committee on their disappearance soon after the end of the election process.

The committee mentioned in detail the disappearance of the presiding officers in its report. The committee also mentioned the suspected tampering of Form 45, according to the sources.

The ECP sources said the other options to be deliberated upon could be the issuance of orders for re-polling at 20 polling stations or going for polling afresh in the entire constituency.

Moreover, the commission will also take a decision on the clashes taking place between the PTI and the PML-N workers in the constituency on the polling day.

ECP directs Punjab IG to take action

Meanwhile, the ECP had directed the Punjab IG to take action against all those responsible and submit a report to it by February 22. 

But no report has so far been submitted to the commission, which will now take a decision what to do next.

However, a video clip of polling station number 346 presiding officer Tasaddaq Hussain went viral. He claimed in the clip that two ‘employees’ came to him after the end of the election process and told him that he would have to go with them in their private vehicle, instead of the ECP official vehicle.

He said the employees said they had also informed the returning officer, who replied that it was no issue and they would look into the matter.

In a related development, the ECP asked PML-N to submit more evidence in the 2018 Senate polls video scandal case, as the five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner, heard the case.

Consultation with political parties

ECP also consulted political parties on the code of conduct for the upcoming Senate elections and various proposals were shared with the forum.

Speaking to journalists, former prime minister and vice president of the PML-N, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, asked the ECP to hold a live investigation and hearing of the Daska incident so that facts could be known to all.

He said his party was in possession of Form 45, issued by the presiding officers before they were ‘abducted’, therefore, the commission should announce the success of the PML-N candidate.

Read more: After Daska incident, Nawaz Sharif's narrative once again echoing across Pakistan: Maryam Nawaz

Former PPP senator Taj Haider told reporters that all political parties gave recommendations for making the Senate polls transparent and pointed out that an impression was being given as if all politicians were corrupt and sell votes.

He said that there was a sentence of three years imprisonment under the law, if the charge of sale and purchase of a vote was proved, adding that polls could be made transparent by strictly implementing Section 168 of the Elections Act, 2017, which deals with bribery.

Awami National Party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said it was proposed by his party that ‘parachuters’, who join political parties just before the elections and manage to purchase tickets, should be banned.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s former MNA Mian Muhammad Aslam regretted that political parties do not take into consideration Article 62 while awarding tickets and maintained that lawmakers who sell their loyalty were the major cause of problems facing the country.