Pakistan News

Parties distance themselves from PTI’s call for poll audit

Parties distance themselves from  PTI’s call for poll audit

LAHORE: With rejection of the rigging allegations by the Judicial Commission, opposition parties which have so far been supporting the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s call for audit of the 2013 general election, have started distancing themselves from the demand.

Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) chief Raja Nasir Abbas says it was the PTI that had called for setting up the commission and that other parties had not been taken into confidence before making the demand.

The commission’s verdict, therefore, does not apply to the MWM and other opposition parties, he says, insisting that the PML-N had committed “engineered rigging” and destroyed the evidence so that the “crime” cannot be easily proved in a court of law.

Raja Nasir seeks an end to politicking on the commission’s report and urges the ruling party to instead focus on resolving masses’ problems.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) of Maulana Tahirul Qadri, which was dubbed as political “cousin” of the PTI during Islamabad sit-in, also says that Imran Khan should give his stance on the report as the commission had been formed with his consent.

Mr Qadri says he had forewarned that the commission would give a “clean bill of health” to the government.

He laments that the prime minister released within hours the judicial commission’s report that supported the government’s stance but report on Model Town tragedy is not being made public for the last eight months.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, which was also a party to the petition before the commission, is irked even by the speech delivered by the prime minister on the report.

“Treating the Judicial Commission’s report as a victory for any party and defeat for the other will only add to political chaos,” JI emir Senator Sirajul Haq warns.

He advises the government to try to resolve the issues of flood-affected people instead of celebrating its “victory”.

The JI chief stresses that electoral reforms must be introduced in consultation with all political parties to restore the people’s confidence in electoral system and to escape the allegations of rigging. The Election Commission should be made to strictly abide by such decisions, he added.

Senator Haq reiterates that nearly all political parties had reservations over 2013 elections results and the Judicial Commission was set up on their demand. He says the commission also referred to weaknesses in the electoral system which must be removed forthwith.

The report, he emphasises, should lead to electoral reforms and punitive steps against the officials found involved in irregularities and bad governance.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which was also a party to the petition, wonders how people are commenting on the report without going through it.

Central information secretary Senator Kamil Ali Agha says he could not read the over 300-page report in a short time so he could not comment on it.

He says stress should be on electoral reforms (and not audit of the polls), recalling that he had been part of the electoral reforms committee formed by the last PPP regime which had given many useful recommendations that were never implemented.

In fact, he frankly admits, the recommendations cannot be implemented as far as the present system and procedures for nominating Election Commission members exist.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2015

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