ISLAMABAD - Returning Officer (RO) of NA-125 has revealed to the inquiry commission that 50,000 more ballot papers were printed than his requisition in the said constituency.

Khalid Mahmood Bhatti, who had performed duty as RO in NA-125, told the three-judge commission headed by chief justice Nasir ul Mulk, on Thursday that he had sent requisition regarding the printing of 50000 ballot papers but 55000 ballot papers by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He, however, expressed ignorance regarding the sending of 50 thousand extra ballot papers.

Bhatti also told that no action plan of ECP has been given regarding the consolidation of election result as well as printing of ballot papers.

The RO says that total voters of NA-125 are 429115 and he had retained 128000 extra ballot papers by himself. He admitted that 65 Form-15 are still missing. He submitted that Form 14 were available at the time of the consolidation of elections result but Form 15 were not presented at that time, adding that perhaps all the signatures of Presiding Officers on Form 14 were available.

Khalid Mahmood further admitted that he did not note the serial numbers of bags of extra ballot papers, who had been retained by himself. However, he claims that 128000 extra ballot papers have been deposited in the treasury as these are fully accounted for, adding that he himself formed the polling schemes. He also owned his signature over the report, submitted by District Election Commissioner Lahore in the Election Tribunal.

The commission, however, stopped PTI's counsel Abdul Hafiz Pirzada for asking questions from RO concerned regarding his statements before Election Tribunal. When Pirzada wanted to confront the RO on his statement before the election tribunal, the chief justice said that they had called the ROs for a particular purpose to know about the printing of excess ballot papers and allowed for cross examination but this is unacceptable.

Giving answer over PML-N's counsel's query, the RO stated that Khawaja Saad Rafiq had got 123416 votes and runner-up Hamid Khan got 84495 votes. He also told that CCTV cameras were also installed in his courtroom as well as corridor.

Meanwhile, Sajjad Hussain, RO of NA-119, also admitted that he had submitted the requisition regarding the printing of extra ballot papers, adding that total votes of the said constituency were 305570 and 368000 votes were printed and polling scheme was printed himself.

He says that PEC Punjab did not raise any objection over the requisition regarding the printing of ballot papers. "I did not receive any ECP's action plan."

Sajjad says that he had deposited all the elections material along with extra ballot papers in the treasury. The commission has also issued notices to counsels for JI and Muhajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi) over Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)'s plea for cross examination of witnesses of both parties.

An application is moved by Mian Atiq Mir in the secretariat of inquiry commission, wherein it is submitted that witnesses who have appeared on behalf of Jamat-e-Islami and Muhajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi) have deposed against MQM.

The application states that MQM vehemently denies all adverse allegations, which have been levelled by the said witnesses against it. The MQM also requested the commission to summon the witnesses, who have appeared on behalf of the Jamat-e-Islami and Muhajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), so as to facilitate and then permit Muttahida Qaumi Movement to cross examine these witnesses.

It is to be noted here that the commission on June 10 recorded the statements of JI witnesses - the party's Karachi chapter chief Mohammad Hussain Mehanti and Naib Amir Khawaja Haris Sultan.

Both witnesses accused the Muttahida Qaumi Movement of rigging the elections by capturing the polling stations to stuff votes and because of this JI had to boycott the elections on the polling day.

Aftab Hassan of the MQM-Haqiqi, who was cross-examined by Advocate Hashmat Habib, alleged that their workers had been killed and the party chief Afaq Ahmed was not allowed to freely run the election campaign.

Afaq Ahmed was put under house-arrest despite clear orders of the then chief election commissioner and the Sindh High Court and assurances given to them by an all-party conference called by the caretaker chief minister of Sindh. Even the party offices were burnt. Sindh election commissioner Syed Mohammad Tahir Qadri was also cross-examined by Hashmat Habib.