LAHORE - Encouraged by a NADRA report that exposed massive irregularities in the polling process in NA-256 and NA-258, the PPP has decided to institute criminal cases against the returning officer and assistant returning officer who had allegedly manoeuvred election results in NA-139 (Kasur) in favour of the PML-N candidate.

The PPP wanted to invoke different sections of the People’s Representatives Act and Pakistan Penal Code to get a criminal case registered against the two officers for their alleged involvement in the rigging.

In line with the party decision, PPP candidate Ch Manzoor Ahmad, who had lost May 11 election against PML-N’s Wasim Akhtar Sheikh from NA-139, approached a police station in Kasur on Wednesday to lodge an FIR against the officers. But the police officer concerned refused to entertain the application, saying he would look into the legal aspects first and then take some action.

The matter is already pending in the election tribunal.

Earlier, senior PPP leader Ch Aitzaz Ahsan addressed a news conference at Lahore Press Club and said that if the police authorities did not register the FIR, the PPP candidate would seek assistance from the court in this regard.

He was flanked by party’s Lahore President Samina Khalid Ghurki, PPP candidate from NA-139 Ch Manzoor, PPP ticket-holder from Lahore Barrister Amir Hassan, PPP’s Lahore office-bearer Wajid Ali Shah and other party men.

Giving details of the rigging in NA-139, obtained from the Election Commission of Pakistan, Aitzaz said that out of total 272 polling stations, the returning officer destroyed election results from 177 while ballot boxes from 12 polling stations had been found stuffed with litter.

Similarly, he added, counterfoils from 32 polling stations did not carry thumb impressions of voters, and counterfoils from five polling stations are missing. The number of voters from 27 polling stations surpassed those of the counterfoils, he said, adding that voter lists for 103 polling stations were also not found. In this way, he said, the number of total bogus votes cast in this constituency was 103,400.

The PPP leader demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan to preserve all the record pertaining to election results of the said constituency.

He told reporters that the PPP had also identified some more constituencies where rigging had taken place and said legal proceedings would be started against the returning officers concerned. He, however, did not divulge details about those constituencies fearing the authorities might change the record. The number of such constituencies in Punjab is between 10 to 15, a PPP source later confided to TheNation.

To a question, Aitzaz said judiciary’s role in May 11 elections was deplorable. He said, “We’ll first bring out evidence of rigging before the people and then chalk out our future line of action,” He, however, ruled out the possibility of launching any agitation campaign against the government.