ISLAMABAD - The record of returning officers’ transfer before general elections 2013 is not available with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The ECP stated this in its reply to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) proposal/application. The PML-Q through its counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha has alleged before inquiry commission that there were mass transfers of lower judiciary before the elections with a design that they in future would control the electoral process as ROs.

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.

In response to the allegations, the ECP submitted that the record of transfers is not available with the ECP. However, the commission insisted that the record of such transfers on its own will not prove the allegation of large scale malpractice by ROs. The reply contends that the allegations of large-scale malpractice by ROs have to be proved by evidence relatable to their conduct.

The PML-Q also alleged that the information has been made an assertion regarding the inference with the work and authority of the ECP and has alleged that this interference lead to resignation by certain officials as well as the former Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakharuddin G Ibrahim.

In response, the ECP submitted that these assertions are speculative in nature and in any case, had no effect on the conduct of the General Elections of 2013.

Regarding the allegations of former additional secretary ECP about the massive irregularities as well as interference of then chief justice of Pakistan, the reply stated that no proof exists as regarding to his allegations, adding that these allegations are incorrect and false as no ballot papers were got printed by the ECP at any private printing press at Urdu Bazaar or anyone else.

The ECP further contended if there was an attempt by any person to use ballot papers not printed under the authority of ECP, such wrong doing is to be established by proof.

“The election tribunals before whom such bogus ballot papers might have been produced in evidence are fully competent to sift out bogus ballot papers and to render judgment in each individual case. Such judgment and the reading of evidence entailed therein will ultimately be examined by the Supreme Court in appeal.”

The commission says that no evidence is provided that the ROs did not associate the candidates or their election agents in the proceedings of consolidation of results at a large scale. Likewise, the ECP has received no information in this regard.