Election petition: Petitioner fined for misleading court in plea accusing winner of rigging

Probe ordered into election record tampering in PP-213 Khanewal.


Rana Tanveer April 14, 2015
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LAHORE: A single-member Election Tribunal on Tuesday imposed Rs500,000 fine on a runner-up from PP-213 (Khanewal) in the 2013 general elections for misleading the court in his petition accusing the victorious candidate of rigging the election.

The tribunal comprising Chaudhry Abdul Hafiz also directed a district and sessions judge to hold an inquiry and fix responsibility for the tampering of election record in the constituency.

A team formed on the request of Rana Irfan Mahmood, who lost the 2013 election from PP-213 to Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, to recount votes had found that 1,000 votes were missing from the record.  Mahmood had contested the election on a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ticket. Gardezi had contested as an independent candidate.

Appearing before the tribunal on Tuesday, a treasury officer stated that 93,454 ballot papers were found in the record during recounting. This, he said, was 1,000 less than the number of votes recorded as polled (94,454) in the provincial assembly constituency according to the ECP notification.

He said the 1,000 missing ballot papers were amongst the 36,616 cast in favour of Gardezi.

The officer said seals of several envelopes carrying ballot papers were found broken during the recounting of votes. He said each envelope had been secured with only one lock. The recommended practice was to use two locks, he added.

Earlier, Advocate Rai Shahid Saleem Khan, counsel for Gardezi, dismissed the allegation that his client was involved in poll rigging.

The ECP notification that declared Gardezi victorious had registered 94,454 as the total votes polled, 36,616 in favour of Gardezi against Mahmood’s 34,600 votes.

In his petition against the notification, Mahmood had submitted through his counsel, Advocate Akram Sheikh, that Gardezi rigged the election. In support his allegation, he had submitted another ECP notification which recorded votes cast in favour of Gardezi as 35,616 (1,000 less than that shown in the latter notification). He had alleged that Gardezi could have stuffed ballots with the help of ECP staff and got himself declared victorious with 36,616 votes.

Mahmood had requested the tribunal to order recounting of votes. He had also sought the cancellation of the notification that declared Gardezi as victorious.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2015.

 

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