Tuesday Mar 02, 2021
The government has decided to file a reference with the Election Commission of Pakistan demanding that Opposition candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani be disqualified and prevented from running for Senate.
"We were here to file a reference but the ECP was closed for the day. We will submit [the reference] in the morning," Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said in a media briefing from outside the ECP office on Tuesday evening.
Fawad Chaudhry spoke about a video doing the rounds on social media that is alleged to show Yousuf Raza Gilani's son, Ali Haider Gilani, purportedly instructing a lawmaker on how to waste his vote.
"I hope the Chief Election Commissioner will take notice of the video. This is why we were saying the Supreme Court decision gives the ECP the chance to play its role in making Senate elections transparent in Pakistan," said the minister.
"The SC gave a clear order to the ECP to make use of technology to eradicate horse-trading in Senate polls. It is highly unfortunate the Election Commission decided not to change the method this time," he added.
Fawad Chaudhry said the video "proves the ECP's point of view wrong".
"It can't be that rigging, corruption, horse-trading and throwing money around be allowed this time but we will stop it the next time. This was a very weak argument and the video proves it," he said.
The science minister went on to claim that the government's candidate Abdul Hafeez Sheikh is "ahead in votes" this time. "Gilani is no where when it comes to votes. Hafeez Sheikh is far ahead," he said.
He said the government's efforts, however, do not stem from a consideration for votes. "This is about the implementation of law. And for this, it falls to the ECP to fulfil its responsibilities outlined under Articles 218 and 220 (of the Constitution)," he said.
Yousuf Raza Gilani, after Ali Haider Gilani's "admission", must be prevented from running from elections, Chaudhry said.
Later, the Election Commission, in a statement, refuted Chaudhry's remarks that no officer was present within the premises.
The ECP spokesperson said that the Commission's R and I Branch is open and the relevant officers on duty.
"The Election Commission has established a control room and the monitoring and control room remains operational 24 hours a day," said the statement.
The ECP spokesperson also said that the video's contents will be probed "on merit".
Ali Haider Gilani responded to the allegations by holding a news conference, saying that he had met a lot of people whilst campaigning for the Senate elections.
Gilani said that he had met the PTI lawmakers to secure the vote for his father, adding that it was his right to do so by law. "Not just once, I will meet them a hundred times as it is my right to do so," he said. "We have sought the 'votes by conscience' in every election. We don't believe in buying or selling votes or securing them through intimidation," he added.
Ali Haider Gilani said the PTI lawmakers told him they wanted to vote for Yousaf Raza Gilani but were worried the PTI leadership would check their votes.
"They asked me what to do if their votes were checked," claimed Ali Haider Gilani. "To which I told them to fold their votes while casting them, which would benefit Yousaf Raza Gilani," he added.
Responding to the controversial video, Yousuf Raza Gilani said that the allegations levelled against his son are "baseless," adding that those [who leaked the video] have no clue who is featured in the video.