Senate polls: ECP to grill AGP over use of money remarks in SC

The attorney general had told the top court that the use of money to buy votes during Senate elections was no secret


Saqib Virk February 18, 2021
PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to summon the attorney general of Pakistan over his statement made at the Supreme Court regarding use of money in Senate elections.

Sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the ECP would ask Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan to appear before the commission to provide evidence regarding the claim he made in the top court regarding use of money and related payments for Senate seats.

The attorney general in his statement at the apex court had said that the use of money during Senate elections was no secret. In his arguments at the top court, he had claimed that people with “bags stuffed with bank notes” were headhunting those who would sell their votes in the March 3 polls.

He had also claimed that the tactics used for the illegal act had changed after the video scandal.

He feared that those with buying power will now pay for Senate votes through commission agents, adding that the money for such act was not yet paid because of the matter being adjudicated at the Supreme Court.

Also read: Horse-trading sign of weak democracy: SC

“They fear wasting their money in case the top court rules in favour of open ballot,” he said, adding that the rate of payments from Dubai was higher than from that within the country. He also said that payments were also being made in Dubai through means of illegal remittances (hundi/havala).

The video of alleged horse-trading, which surfaced earlier this month and dates back to 2018, showed a man handing over large sums of money, reportedly Rs20 million, to various K-P Assembly lawmakers from the ruling PTI as well as some other parties for voting in favour of the PPP candidates ahead of the last Senate elections.

In the video clip, made through a hidden camera, now-sacked K-P minister for law Sultan Muhammad Khan and another person Sardar Idrees could be seen counting the money and signing an undertaking.

Read more: Political parties must have proportionate representation in Senate: SC

Earlier in the day, the apex court while hearing the case had said that the seats in the Senate of any political party should be according to their existing seats in the provincial assemblies.

"A political party should get a deserving number of seats in the Senate," Justice Ijazul Ahsan said while hearing a case related to the presidential reference for open voting in the upper House of the parliament.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and the counsel for the Election Commission appeared in the court during the proceeding.

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