ISLAMABAD - Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Raza Khan said Tuesday that holding elections again in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not child’s play.

Cautioning those speaking about re-polls, he said that any decision on whether or not to hold re-elections will be taken by the Election Commission.

The Chief Election Commissioner’s statement comes after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced that his party is ready to hold local bodies’ elections again in KP in response to allegations of rigging by the opposition.

The CEC was hearing the petition that alleges police involvement in recently-concluded LB polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,

The CEC on Tuesday questioned impartiality of the provincial police terming Sindh police even better in performance.

The CEC made the remarks while hearing petition that alleged that KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had influenced police and state machinery in rigging polls in favour of his brother Liaquat Khattak, a contestant of district member in Manki Sharif, hometown of the provincial chief executive. The ECP summoned Liaquat Khattak, the candidate, Additional Inspector General Special Branch KP, Superintendent Police Nowshera and others to appear before full bench to explain as to why the irregularities were committed by them during the controversial LB polls held on May 30.

In an in-camera hearing of the petition filed by rival and aggrieved candidate Javed Khattak, the CEC grilled the respondents to an extent that he observed that the role of KP police was miserable in maintaining order inside and outside the polling stations during the polls.

In fact, the CEC lauded the otherwise notorious Sindh police for showing better performance during by-elections in Karachi regretting that role of KP police was not up to the mark during the elections that resulted in death of 11 people.

Other members of the commission were also annoyed at the presence of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, AIG special branch and SP in the hometown on election day, a practice deemed as gross violation of codes of conduct.

During the hearing, it was confessed by lawyers of the respondents that the chief minister was present in the morning and evening at polling station in Manki Sharif from where his brother was contesting election as a district member.

The police officer was grilled for turning deaf ears to the repeated complaints by rival candidates when SP and candidate Liaquat Khattak were found in a polling station where votes were being counted in presence of a single aspirant.

A petition filed by the contesting candidate had informed ECP Monday that the KP government used special branch police, state machinery and Superintendent Police (SP) to rig elections in favour of the CM’s brother.

Liaqauat Khattak, brother of the chief minister, according to the petition, has won the seat at the cost of breaching law and misusing state machinery.

The allegations levelled by the petitioners on an affidavit had stunned CEC Justice (retired) Sardar Raza Khan to an extent that he ordered Deputy Commissioner Nowshera, Additional Inspector General (AIG) Police Speical Branch, Returning Officer and brother of CM Khattak to appear before the court on Tuesday.

The ECP also withheld result of the district seat in Manki Sharif until the petition is disposed off.

The ECP again summoned the respondents on Wednesday asking them to prove themselves as innocent besides asking the petitioner to bring more evidence of police involvement in rigging the polls. Describing the gross violation of law on polling day, the petitioner said that after closing of poll at 5.pm, it was announced by DC Nowshera that polling would continue till 7.pm; however, the gates of polling station No 506 were not closed where polling continued till 9.30pm.

Petitioner Javed Khattak complained that despite objections, no action was taken against the RO/DRO who entertained voters to cast votes in darkness adding the Chief Minister himself was present on the occasion and was planning the whole show through special branch and government machinery that remained present for pleasing the chief executive.

He said at 11.pm, some 20 government and private vehicles proceeded to a remote polling station No.502 (Asha Khel) in Nowshera where SP Investigation Haji Imtiaz and candidate Liaquat Khattak were found there only to direct special branch officials to stuff ballot boxes behind closed door.