ISLAMABAD - The General Elections 2013 Inquiry Commission Thursday issued notices to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), directing them to file replies on the applications of PTI and JI respectively.

The commission was constituted, following President Mamnoon Hussain issued Ordinance, to probe the allegations of rigging in the general elections 2013, a demand PTI made during 126 days long sit-in in Islamabad last year.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has levelled allegations against the PML-N, while the Jamaat-e-Islami made certain assertions that the MQM manipulated the election results. Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasir-ul-Mulk, heading a three-member inquiry commission, said it is appropriate that the PML-N and MQM be issued notice and if they, so desire, can file the reply by 12:00pm on 25th April.

The PTI on Wednesday last filed an application before the commission requesting to summon 13 witnesses included Nabeel Gabool, Hamid Mir, Javed Iqbal, chief secretary to the caretaker Punjab government, provincial election commissioner Punjab, provincial election commissioner Sindh, caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Najam Sethi, Additional Chief Secretary to the caretaker Punjab government Rao Iftikhar, Head of Programs TDEA FAFEEN, Muddassir Rizvi and Chairman NADRA Usman Yousaf Mobeen. In addition to the abovementioned names, the application also listed the managing directors of Printing Corporation of Pakistan Press Karachi, PCPP Press Lahore and Pakistan Security Printing Corporation Karachi, who held office at the time of acquisition and printing of ballot papers, as witnesses.

The commission stated if any other political party that wishes witnesses be examined should filed the list by 25th April and by such date file any additional document if they so desire. However, Justice Nasir clarified: “The commission would decide as to which of the witnesses may be called to testify considering their relevance to the terms of reference.”

Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, representing the PTI, expressing concern over the destruction of 2013 elections record prayed to the commission to order the Election Commission of Pakistan to preserve and secure it.

Salman Akram Raja, appearing on behalf of ECP, undertook and assured the Commission that the elections 2013 record would be preserved and secured.

In compliance with the direction, given on last date, NADRA has submitted its report. The ECP has also responded to the application/proposals filed by PTI. The ECP had rejected PTI’s claim that the 2013 general elections were systematically manipulated or influenced by design. It reports also that that on an overall basis the election results of both the national and provincial assemblies were “a true and fair reflection” of the mandate given by the electorate.

The commission asked all the parties to assist it in finalizing the modalities. It would also reconsider the proposals submitted by Aitzaz Ahsan, who appeared on behalf of Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P).

According to PPP proposals, the commission selects one forth, about 70, constituencies and District Returning Officers (DRO) be directed to ‘notify’ all the candidates to appear for the ‘inspection before designated Returning Officer/Additional Sessions Judges on specified date.

The PPP-P proposals further states the inspection on day to day basis be conducted to ascertain the completeness and correctness of record, the destruction of any of the prescribed documents, especially if it indicates a pattern and the impact of the destroyed documents.

Aitzaz said that the above process could be completed in 5 to 7 working days, while the ROs/DROs should submit their reports to the Commission within 8 to 10 days. He said that according to these reports it will appear that either the election was all in order barring minor discrepancies here and there; or a pattern emerges showing concerted destruction of material record; and that the pattern indicates a ‘design’ and a consistent signature of an attempt to rig the entire elections.

He said that the ECP should be directed to provide the profile of NA constituencies along with the PA constituencies to show the discrepancies, if any, in the votes cast for the NA and those of Provincial Assemblies.

The commission proceeding adjourned till Monday (27th April).