ISLAMABAD - The General Election Inquiry Commission Wednesday rejected PTI’s all allegations of vote fraud, stating in its report that elections were held in accordance with the law, no rigging was proved and the overall mandate is the true reflection of the will of the people.
Though there was no official confirmation of the development but insiders in the government confirmed the presentation of the report. According to the sources, the 300-page report turned down the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf allegations and thus gave a clean chit to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Shahid Hamid advocate, who represented the PML-N before the commission, told The Nation he did not have the report but it was in his knowledge that the report has been submitted to the law ministry. The report has vindicated government stance, he added.
PTI counsel Abdul Hafeez Pirzada could not be contacted as nowadays he is in London for his medical check-up. PTI leaders refused to give reaction on the report saying that without going through the contents it would not be apt to reflect on it.
PTI Secretary Information Neemul Haq while talking to The Nation said that he was not in a position to comment on the report at the moment. “We have not received an official copy of the report,” he said. As soon as we get the report the party will give its response, he said.
The party had accused ruling PML-N of stealing people’s mandate through organised rigging in 2013 general elections, which according to the party were not conducted in transparent fashion. However, PTI Chairman Imran Khan on several occasions had publicly stated that they will concede to the findings of the judicial commission whatever they will be.
The Inquiry Commission was constituted following President Mamnoon Hussain issued General Election 2013 Inquiry Commission Ordinance, 2015, to probe the allegations of rigging in the general elections, a demand PTI made during 126 days long sit-in at Islamabad’s Red Zone last year.
Headed by Chief Justice Justice Nasirul Mulk and including Justice Amir Hani Muslims and Justice Ejaz Afzal, the commission had sought evidence, proposals from the political parties who participated in the elections for its consideration. Twenty-one political parties and 47 individuals had submitted their proposals.
The commission heard the case for four months and conducted 59 sessions, three were in-camera, and summoned 69 witnesses including Punjab caretaker chief minister, former Punjab secretary, Returning Officers, Provincial Election Commissioners of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, and officials of Printing Corporation of Pakistan who recorded their statement before the commission.
The commission had given three-point questionnaire to the parties as they failed to submit statements in accordance with the ToR, mentioned in the Ordinance under which the commission was formed. It asked the political parties, firstly, to specify why they believe that the elections were not conducted honestly, fairly and justly and also indicate the material and witnesses which they will rely on to support the allegations.
Secondly, the political parties were required to explain that if they allege that the elections were manipulated or influenced pursuant to a systematic effort by design then provide who made the plan/design, what was the plan, who implemented the design and how the plan was implemented, along with the material and witnesses on which they will rely to support their allegations.
Thirdly, the parties had to state whether the alleged systematic effort to steal peoples mandate were made only on the National Assembly seats or the provincial assembly seats as well. And if it only related to the National Assembly, did it include all the four provinces or confined to certain provinces?
While PTI levelled allegations against the PML-N, the Jamaat-e-Islami accused MQM of manipulating the election results therefore the commission issued notices to both MQM and PML-N. The PTI had filed thousands of documents and requested the commission to summon 13 witnesses including Nabeel Gabool, Hamid Mir and managing directors of Printing Corporation of Pakistan in Karachi and Lahore, who held office at the time of acquisition and printing of ballot papers for general elections.
The individuals summoned also included Pakistan Security Printing Corporation, Karachi MD Javed Iqbal, Provincial Election Commissioners of Punjab and Sindh, Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi, then Chief Secretary Rao Iftikhar, additional Chief Secretary Muddassir Rizvi, head of Programs TDEA FAFEEN and Nadra chairman.
PTI, which during its dharna persistently stated that former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the Supreme Court judge Justice (r) Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday were behind the rigging, did not at any stage requested the commission to summon them for cross-examination.