Pakistan Peoples Party’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan said on Wednesday that the 2013 parliamentary elections could be declared unfair on the basis of missing Form 15s from polling bags.
Arguing before a three-judge inquiry commission – headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk – Ahsan, who is also a PPP senator, said the 1990 elections were declared unfair by the Supreme Court in the Asghar Khan case following allegations that money was doled out to candidates in 32 constituencies.
Ahsan submitted that the 2013 election records have been tampered with and its evidence has been presented before the inquiry commission. “Form 15 is a very sacred document. Punjab pattern of electoral rigging had been used in the last general elections.”
According to the ordinance through which the commission was set up, all the executive authorities, including IB, MI, ISI and NADRA, were bound to assist the inquiry commission in investigating the allegations, he said, adding that initially the burden of proof was on the political parties, but the inquiry commission had assumed this role through various orders.
Aitzaz contended that though the commission had to complete the task preferably within 45 days but there is no time bar. To this, the chief justice said the outer limit is 120 days, as the life of the ordinance is 120 days.
The PPP counsel made it clear that he was not asking the commission to declare the election in individual constituencies void.
Earlier, the chief justice asked the PTI counsel that throughout the proceedings he held the ruling PML-N responsible for alleged manipulation of the 2013 elections. “I would like to know what links the PML-N with rigging in the general election.”
PTI counsel Abdul Hafeez Pirzada said that for all National Assembly seats 44.85 million votes were polled, of which the PML-N secured 14.87 million, PTI 7.56 million, PPP 6.82 million and independent candidates secured 5.77 million votes and won 32 seats. After the elections most of the independents joined the PML-N.
He further said that in the 2008 elections the same party had polled 6.8 million votes, therefore the votes secured by the party showed a 100% increase. “Najam Sethi, ex-caretaker chief minister of Punjab, was the buffer between the PPP’s outgoing government and PML-N,” he alleged.
The chief justice had asked the counsels of all the parties to conclude their arguments by Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.