The Election Commission of Pakistan has asked the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to nominate its own members in a petition seeking disqualification of senator-elect Yousuf Raza Gilani over his son Ali Haider Gilani’s video scandal.
On March 2, a day before the Senate elections, a video surfaced showing Ali Haider telling two PTI members of National Assembly about how to waste votes.
A four-member ECP bench, headed by Punjab member Justice (retd) Altaf Qureshi, heard the petition.
PTI counsel Ali Zafar was of the stance that the PTI and its allies have 180 MNAs in the lower house of parliament whereas the opposition has 160 members.
"Had the polls been transparent, [PTI candidate] Hafeez Shaikh would have won by a wide margin," Barrister Zafar added.
The counsel apprised the bench that the people were offered money and tickets for the next elections to garner their support, alleging that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) joint candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani “bribed” the PTI MNAs.
"The premier then asked the ECP to intervene in the matter," he added.
At this, ECP Sindh member Nisar Durrani asked when had the premier done that. The counsel replied that he did it through the media.
Justice (retd) Qureshi asked the PTI counsel whether he did not think it was important to make those who were seen in the video with Ali Haider parties to the case.
Zafar replied that the persons in the video should not be made parties to the case.
“The one who offered the bribe and those who received it, both are involved in the matter,” Qureshi remarked. “We can’t make only the one who offered the bribe a party to the case.”
Zafar maintained that Ali Haider was seen in the March 2 video telling PTI's Captain (retd) Jamil and Faheem Khan about ways to waste their votes.
The fact is, he added, that a sting operation was carried out against Ali Haider. "The commission had taken notice of the leaked footage and issued a statement in this regard."
The ECP member said there was no mention of money and Senate tickets in the video, asking the counsel to make all persons involved in the video scandal a party to the case. “If the charges of giving and receiving bribes are proven, action should be taken against all the culprits.”
The bench asked Barrister Zafar to prepare the petition in the correct manner … “gather the evidence”.
Meanwhile, MNA Ali Nawaz Awan moved a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), challenging the victory of Yousuf Gilani in the Senate elections.
The petitioner prayed the court to declare the victory of Gilani in the Senate election as void and stop the ECP from issuing the notification as well as disqualify his son Ali Haider as member of the provincial assembly over alleged horse trading in the Senate polls.
Advocate Aamer Aziz Ansari filed the petition on behalf of the petitioner.
The petition stated that Ali Haider was found involved in horse trading to rig Senate polls and a video had surfaced in the media ahead the elections.
It added that the ECP was a constitutional institution and it was its responsibility to ensure fairness in elections.
The petition stated that Ali had admitted that he met the PTI lawmakers at a news conference. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz had also admitted that “her party tickets’ offer” had attracted the members to vote for Gilani.
The petitioner requested the court to ask the ECP that why the nomination papers of Gilani were accepted.
The petition prayed the court to direct the ECP for taking legal action against Gilani and his son Ali Haider under the Election Act.