ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has claimed that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) failed to bring forth concrete evidence before the General Election Inquiry Commission (GEIC) to quantify its stance that the general elections 2013 were rigged in systematic manner to benefit a political party.

The PML-N claimed this in its 117-page reply, submitted to the inquiry commission in response to the GEIC notice. It said that the general elections of 2013 were organized and conducted impartially, honestly, fairly, justly and in accordance with law. The ruling party has also cited the contents of international observers’ reports that the elections were fair.

During its third hearing on Thursday, the commission had issued notices to the ruling PML-N and MQM with the direction to file their replies, if they so desired, in response to the allegations of rigging levelled against them by the PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami. Following the ordinance the GEIC was constituted to probe allegations of rigging in elections 2013.

The reply states that contrary to the dharna rhetoric, the PTI’s petition is singularly silent and no material has been placed on record either to prove that elections were rigged by design. The reply further said: “The PTI petition does not even attempt to show that the PML-N was involved in any manner, or at any level, with the alleged systematic manipulation of the General Elections 2013”.

“The PML-N finds no grounds to differ with the main thrust of the report submitted by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). On the basis of the said report, the inquiry commission may safely conclude that General Elections 2013 were organized and conducted impartially, honestly, fairly, justly and in accordance with law.”

The reply said that out of 272 directly elected seats to the National Assembly polling was held on May 11, 2013 in 269 NA constituencies - PML-N won 129 seats, adding that the PTI won 27 seats and only 30 of PTI’s losing candidates for NA seats chose to file election petitions including 19 in the Punjab.

“Another 28 PTI candidates challenged elections in provincial constituencies - these figures show that the preponderant majority of PTI’s candidates accepted, rightly and in good taste, their electoral defeat,” the reply added.

Replying to the PTI allegation about unauthorized, unlawful printing of additional ballot papers, the PML-N said that this allegation is to be answered by the ECP and the Pakistan Security Printing Corporation.

The PML-N in its reply opposed the PTI’s request to play video footage and news channel programmes and said that this may convert the proceedings of the commission into a theatre without serving any useful purpose.

“Views expressed by newscasters, channel anchors and their interviews in recorded programmes cannot be used as evidence as persons making particular statements would not be subject to cross examination”, says the reply.

The PML-N has also requested the commission to provide the NADRA analysis reports to it for comments.

Regarding the PTI’s objection over the appointment four ECP members, the PML-N says that all the members were appointed in accordance with law, adding that if PTI feels differently it may if so advised, prefer a challenge either under Article 199 or Article 209 of the constitution and this matter does not fall within the ToRs of the commission.

The MQM has not submitted its reply, but its counsel Dr Faroogh Nasim intended to appear before the GIEC on April 27.

Talking to media, Dr Faroogh Nasim has said that he will appear in the public hearing of the Commission on April 27 saying due to worst law and order situation in NA 221 and PS 47, the MQM was unable to launch election campaign. He said that MQM candidate of provincial assembly from PS 47 Fakhurl Islam was assassinated in the general elections.

Dr Nasim pointed out that MQM shall urged the GIEC to seek details of advertisement contracts of the PTI saying if inquiry over the expenses of the PTI, PPP, PML-N elections campaign is carried out then all the results could be declared null and void.

Meanwhile, PML-Q, and Mohajar Qaumi Movement also submitted additional proposal, while the PTI also submitted a list of 77 constituencies, wherein the elections were alleged rigged.

The PML-Q though its counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha has submitted a resignation of former secretary ECP Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, wherein he had alleged that former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is interfering in the matters of commission, therefore, he is tendering resignation.