ISLAMABAD - In a major development, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday decided to initiate criminal proceedings against those who cast multiple votes in the last year's general elections and sought reports from the election tribunals in this regard.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in an important meeting chaired by acting Chief Election Commissioner Justice Nasirul Mulk asked all the election tribunals to send details of such cases which have been verified and provided by Nadra for further action under Sections 80 and 82 of Peoples Representation Act.
"All tribunals have been directed to send their reports about progress made on election complaints," ECP Additional Secretary Sher Afgan told reporters after the meeting. He said that ECP would decide further action against those who voted more than once.
Sher Afgan said the meeting also approved the registrations of 11 new political parties taking the tally of registered parties to 281. The commission rejected a petition, filed by an independent candidate from Multan's NA 151 constituency, seeking cancelation of the registration of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). The petitioner had claimed that the JI had collected funds for charity, which were later used in the election campaign. The ECP rejected the petition citing lack of credible evidence.
Monitoring desk adds: The Ministry of Finance has demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to return funds worth more than Rs3 billion, which had been granted for local bodies’ elections, according to a media report.
The development comes as yet another blow to the prospects of local elections which have already been delayed several times.
Due to the indefinite postponement of the local body elections, the Ministry of Finance has asked ECP to surrender the funds, the report said.
In response to this demand, the ECP has claimed that it has already spent a portion of these funds on ballot papers.
The ECP further claimed that it owed money to Nadra and the General Headquarters (GHQ) for their services during the general elections and wished to clear these dues through the funds granted.
“Nadra needs to be paid Rs450 million and the GHQ Rs310 million,” stated the ECP.
However, the Ministry of Finance has asked the ECP to draft a fresh demand for funds for clearance of dues of the general elections and return the funds previously granted for local bodies’ elections.
According to ECP’s initial estimates, Rs6.58 billion was going to be required from the finance ministry for holding the polls. Out of this, Rs3 billion were granted to the ECP.
For months the schedule of the local bodies’ election has been a topic of contention as dates have constantly changed.
Balochistan was successful in setting an example for the rest of the provinces by conducting local bodies’ elections on December 7, 2013. The local bodies’ elections took place after 8 years in the 32 districts of Balochistan.
Re-elections for local bodies’ seats were held on March 16 in five districts of Balochistan – Loralai, Pishin, Killa Saifullah and Musa Khail due to discrepancies in the results.
On March 19, the Supreme Court had ordered the other provinces to conduct local body elections by November 15 this year.