ISLAMABAD - The ruling party said Wednesday it would challenge an election tribunal verdict that unseated its railways minister over alleged irregularities in the 2013 general election.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had decided to challenge the decision of election tribunal ordering revote in NA-125, Lahore, in the Supreme Court.

Accompanied by Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid here at a press conference, Ahsan said after consultation with legal team and party members, the leadership has decided to move the apex court.

“Khawaja Saad Rafique was insisting on going for re-election, but the party leadership believes that accepting the tribunal’s decision can set a dangerous precedent,” Ahsan added.

He alleged PTI Chairman Imran Khan was deliberately destabilising the country’s economy. Imran, he said, was responsible for creating uncertainty and unrest in the country, as he did not want the PML-N to pursue its agenda of economic revival. “Imran was aware of the fact that if all the mega projects launched by the PML-N led government are successfully completed, his party will face a crushing defeat in next general election in 2018,” he remarked.

PML-N minister asked Imran why he wasted the nation’s time by staging sit-ins for around 126 days which also delayed the visit of Chinese president to Pakistan. Now when agreements under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth over $45 billion had been signed and the whole world acknowledged that Pakistan’s economy was moving in the right direction, Imran Khan had again started hue and cry on the basis of tribunal’s decision, he added.

“The international institutions and publications, including Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Moody’s, Reuters and the Economist are reporting that the Pakistan’s economy is recovering because of the government’s policies,” he observed. The minister said Imran Khan’s recent statements were confusing foreigners, who were otherwise ready to invest in Pakistan.

He said unlike the PTI, the PML-N had won all its seats in the by-elections and the recent cantonment boards’ election results also proved that the 2013 elections were quite transparent. Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Ashtar Ausaf Ali claimed that election tribunal in its detailed judgement had categorically rejected the PTI’s rigging allegation in NA-125 polls. The ET, in its judgement, observed that it found no evidence of rigging by the winning candidate or his party workers, he said. There was nothing which could have been accepted as proof, and the PTI leaders themselves acknowledged that their affidavits and proofs were rejected by the tribunal, he added. The ET, he said, had used the word “irregularities” and not “rigging” in its judgement, he said.

MNA Daniyal Aziz said the PTI in its reply to the objections of PML-N legal team over its documents filed with the judicial commission, alleged that the rigging was committed in collusion with the DROs, ROs  and POs, but the ET found no such thing.

He said the tribunal identified some irregularities on part of returning and presiding officers citing their incompetency and mismanagement, which were committed neither under any deal nor conspiracy. The PTI, he said, had started celebrating the decision as its victory, but in fact is that the ET had turned down its all pleas.–Agencies