Senate tells political parties to validate rigging charges

Published: September 11, 2018
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD .: A Senate panel asked on Monday all major political parties, including PPP, PML-N, PTI, ANP, MQM and MMA, to substantiate allegations of rigging in the general election.

The call for submitting substantive proof in this regard was made in letters sent by Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik.

Malik who has also been nominated by the Senate to monitor security during the election, asked all parties concerned to provide relevant information on the prescribed pro forma by September 20.

Letters, it is learnt, were sent to political parties, including PPP, PML-N, PTI, ANP, MQM, MMA, BNP, BAP and independent candidates.

Senator Malik said that the committee had approved terms of reference (TORs) in its meeting on September 3 for broadening the probe into reports suggesting irregularities during the recently-concluded general election.

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A pro forma, he said, had already been approved by the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior and Senate’s Coordination Committee to monitor the general election.

According to him, it had been sent to the heads of all political parties, asking them to send it back with “irrefutable evidence” which could withstand scrutiny.

Stressing the need for looking deeply into complaints of irregularities during election, the letter stated that this was why the committee had decided to sort them out, paving the way for “necessary legal action”.

The committee, however, had decided to entertain “only valid complaints and allegations” which were specific and duly supported by irrefutable evidence.

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Highlighting the ‘grey areas’ being investigated by the committee, Malik stated that they included the delay in election results, failure of the NADRA’s RTS system, issues relating to ECP’s Result Management System (RMS), observations of committee members on the RTS and RMS, shortage or non-provision of ‘Form 45’, removal of polling agents from polling stations, number of rejected votes, failure of internet and telephone services in constituencies, the breakdown of internet server at NADRA’s headquarters, reservations of parliamentarians on postings and transfers of presiding and returning officers and the recovery of stamped ballot papers along roads, inside dustbins and elsewhere.

The pro forma, he stated, had been designed keeping in view the complaints lodged by political parties and reported by media and the general public.

He said that sorting out information provided by political parties on the basis of pro formas “shall also be beneficial for the Parliamentary Commission proposed by the committee to probe the general election 2018”.

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