Pakistan News

ECP rejects ex-official’s allegations of rigging in 2013 polls

ECP rejects ex-official’s allegations of rigging in 2013 polls

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has dismissed allegations levelled by its former additional secretary Mohammad Afzal Khan that the 2013 general elections were massively rigged and said that no proof exists to substantiate his claims.

Afzal Khan claimed in a television interview that people’s mandate was stolen in the 2013 elections and he accused former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of being involved in the rigging. He alleged that the then chief election commissioner, retired Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, had “shut his eyes on the rigging”.

Read: Comment: Afzal Khan's allegations — when evidence goes out of style

His allegations were made part of a statement submitted by PML-Q through its counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha to the judicial commission constituted to investigate the alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.

“The allegations are incorrect and false,” the ECP said in a report submitted before the commission headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk on Friday through its counsel Salman Akram Raja. It rebutted the assertions made by PML-Q in its statement.

This is the second such response by the ECP. Earlier, in a response to allegations levelled by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the ECP had denied that the 2013 elections were systematically manipulated or influenced by design.

Also read: Rebuttal: Afzal Khan interview was fixed match, says Justice Riaz Kiani

The three-member judicial commission was constituted through a presidential ordinance after the ruling PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf signed a memorandum of understanding. It has been tasked to find out whether or not the 2013 general elections were systematically rigged. The commission will resume its hearing on Monday.

The ECP asserted that no proof existed to establish the allegations levelled by Afzal Khan. It rejected his claim about printing of additional ballot papers in a private press in the Lahore’s Urdu Bazar.

It said anyone alleging that ballot papers were printed without the authority of the ECP and were used in the elections should provide evidence before the judicial commission

Also read: PML-Q decides to become party to poll inquiry

About the PML-Q’s allegations that returning officers did not associate candidates or their polling agents in the proceedings of consolidation of results at a large scale, the ECP report stated that the political party did not provide any evidence to prove it claims.

That was a matter which required evidence in individual cases and in cases where such grievances might have been raised would be determined through due adjudication, the ECP report added.

The ECP emphasised that it did not consider proceedings before the commission to be adversarial or even ‘quasi-adversarial’. However, it was the duty of the ECP to place facts before the commission, adding that apprehensions being expressed were without any factual basis.

The ECP said that it was its position that the 2013elections were organised and conducted impartially, honestly, fairly, justly and in accordance with the law. “It is also the position of ECP that the elections were not manipulated or influenced in general pursuant to a systematic effort by design by anyone.”

It said there might have been irregularities and malpractices in some constituencies and appeals against them were pending before election tribunals or the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2015

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