ISLAMABAD: The process of printing ballot papers was carried out under the supervision of the armed forces and representatives of the Election Commission of Pakistan, witnesses told a judicial commission formed to probe alleged rigging in the 2013 elections.
During the hearing of the judicial commission on Friday, former managing director of Printing Corporation Pakistan (PCP) Musa Raza Afandi, former managing director PCP Lahore Muhammad Rafiq and Managing Director Pakistan Post Foundation Ijaz Ahmad recorded their statements.
The witnesses revealed that the process of printing ballot papers was carried out under the supervision of the armed forces and representatives of the ECP.
“Army officials were deployed inside and outside the printing press,” a PCP official said.
Earlier, responding to the testimony of the former election commissioner of Punjab, who revealed that extra ballot papers were printed in several of the province’s constituencies, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) also said that the ballots were printed under the army’s supervision.
In a written reply submitted to the inquiry commission, PML-N’s counsel Shahid Hamid admitted that the process of printing and delivery of ballot papers for the polls was delayed because of outdated printing machines, shortage of manpower and capacity issues.
Claiming that the ECP took all major decisions in consultation with political parties, the government in its response made it clear that private corporations printed ballots under the supervision of the army. The ruling PML-N incorporated this aspect repeatedly in its reply to satisfy the qualms of opposition parties.
Further, during the proceedings today May 14, the commission, summoned provincial election commissioner Sindh to appear before the bench on Monday.
Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk also said that the judicial commission should preferably be concluded within 45 days.
When the PTI’s counsel Abdul Hafiz Pirzada sought adjournment for, the commission’s member Justice Amir Hani Mulsim observed that they are running short of time as the parties themselves fixed the period of the probe to 45 days.