ISLAMABAD - One of the main reasons behind the refusal of the government to form judicial commission (JC) on the terms proposed by Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) for probing rigging allegations is that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does not want to be punished for the wrong committed by polling staff.

Highly-placed sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) confided to The Nation that PTI wanted to send the whole system packing by demanding ‘peculiar’ terms of references (ToRs) in the proposed formation of the judicial commission for probing rigging allegations in 2013 general elections.

While the government side during the hectic negotiations with the PTI over ToRs of the judicial commission agreed that by-election would be held on constituencies where any irregularity is found by the commission, the PTI wanted to wrap the whole National Assembly in case the commission finds rigging in 148 constituencies.

Asad Umar, who was one of the key members of PTI’s negotiating team over formation of the JC, told The Nation that his party’s stance was that fresh election were demanded by his party in case the judicial commission found any kind of irregularity in the general elections 2013.

While the government side including Finance Minister Ishaque Dar insisted that the word ‘planned rigging” or engineered rigging’ should be expunged from the ToRs of the judicial commission .

“The word planned rigging means that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be deprived of the mandate for the wrong committed by the caretaker set-up. Why not the PTI agrees to our assurance that by-election should be held on seats where the judicial commission finds out rigging?” he added.

Asad Umar told The Nation that Ishaq Dar prior to holding press conference on Saturday telephoned him and said that the government would not negotiate further with PTI on the terms demanded by Imran Khan’s party.

He said that the PTI wanted the rigging petitions, currently under process in different election tribunals, to be probed by the judicial commission , adding that the government did not agree to it.

To a question why the PTI insisted on ‘planned rigging’ when the regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had nothing to do with the general elections that took place under the administration of caretaker government, the PTI lawmaker argued that the biggest beneficiary of rigging was PML-N.

According to a federal minister, who wished not to be named, the government was willing long ago to form a judicial council and was ready to hold by-polls on seats where rigging charges are proved but the PTI wanted to hold fresh elections in case any rigging allegations are proved true.

“It is irrational to punish those who had nothing to do with rigging. Why should the country go for full-fledged election on all constituencies? The judicial commission can be formed in a few days but within the limits of constitution,” he added.

However, Asad Umar maintained that the whole election should be considered null and void in case rigging in any of the constituencies was detected, arguing that transparency in election should not be doubted at any cost.

“Now when Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has made public what we discussed during talks about ToRs, PTI will also reveal the truth publicly. We will not agree to any commission without the word ‘engineered rigging’ in the TORs,” he added.