Tuesday Mar 02, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked for the government's "consent" to get the call data record (CDR) of the mobile numbers of the 20 presiding officers who were ‘missing’ for hours with ballots bags during the recent NA-75 Daska by-election.
ECP has approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), sources in the government were cited as saying by The News.
PTA has asked the government for a decision on whether or not it should provide the required information to the ECP.
Under the law, every government official, agency and authority is bound by the Constitution and the law to follow ECP orders with regard to its duty of holding free and fair elections. The commission's order cannot be ignored unless stayed or reversed by the Supreme Court.
Sources said the government is feeling "uneasy" about ECP’s latest move, which could possibly lead to unmasking those who had planned and supervised the Daska by-poll rigging.
The call data will be significant in finding out the activities of the 20 ‘missing’ presiding officers. The POs had disappeared for several hours after polling and the counting of votes instead of immediately reporting to the RO.
If the data is given to ECP, it could mean exposing a "rigging plan", a senior government officer told The News.
The ECP has already decided to refer the trial of the 20 presiding officers to a sessions court for their alleged involvement in the rigging of the Daska by-poll.
In its press release on the day after the Daska by-poll, the ECP put it on record that only the Punjab chief secretary was contacted once at 3am, but he, too, never got back to the ECP with information regarding the missing presiding officers. The Punjab IG, the commissioner and RPO Gujranwala, the concerned deputy commissioner and DPO were also contacted by the commission but none of these officers were available.
While nullifying the Daska by-poll, the ECP had summoned the chief secretary and IG on March 4 besides ordering the removal of the commissioner and RPO Gujranwala and the suspension of the concerned deputy commissioner, DPO, two assistant commissioners and two DSPs.
ECP has yet to decide whether inquiries against these civil administration and police officers will be conducted by it or referred to the federal and Punjab government.