ISLAMABAD - With more than 100 petitions related to discrepancies in last year's elections still pending, less than a week is left when the one-year contract of Election Tribunals established across the country will come to an end on June 2.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had constituted 14 tribunals on June 3 last year after it was flooded with 435 complaints pertaining to discrepancies in election process.
Under section 67 of the Representation of Peoples' Act 1976, the tribunals were supposed to dispose of the cases in 120 days (October), however, according to official sources, the tribunals badly failed to resolve the petitions.
Each judge of the tribunal enjoys the perks and privileges equivalent to BPS-21 officer including Rs75,000 as conveyance allowance and Rs150,000 as a monthly salary for which Ministry of Finance has released the money to ECP.
Although the tribunals have resolved more than 290 cases out of the 405 petitions after the ECP itself settled 30 cases, more than 100 cases have been pending with election tribunals as their contract will expire on June 2.
The failure by tribunals to resolve the cases, according to the sources, was attributed to the verification of thumb impressions by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) in 26 constituencies adding that the authority was acting slow to meet the request forwarded by tribunals.
As the one-year tenure of the tribunals will expire after a week, the ECP, according to the sources, will need the services of petitions hearing bodies for disposing of the remaining cases besides resolving petitions that will be filed in the wake of by-polls adding the contract would be extended further.
According to officials, the major reason behind piling of pending cases was the unwillingness by government to constitute more election tribunals for speedy hearing of petitions.
Documents available with The Nation reveal that the ECP had requested Ministry of Finance last year for sanctioning budgetary allowance for bearing expenses of 28 tribunals but the ministry allocated money for 14 such bodies.
While Additional Secretary ECP Sher Afgan could not be contacted despite sending a text message on his mobile, Deputy Director Khurshid Alam said the pending petitions needed extensions in contract period of the tribunals for hearing.