Pakistan News

Tribunal’s decision to be challenged: minister

Tribunal’s decision to be challenged: minister

ISLAMABAD: Infor­ma­tion Minister Pervez Rashid said on Sunday the judgment of an election tribunal about elections in the National Assembly’s NA-122 constituency would be challenged in the Supreme Court.

“We respect the decision but do not agree with it,” he said while talking to reporters. The law of the land allowed the ruling PML-N to move the apex court against the verdict, he said.

The seat was won by PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq in the last general elections. But his election was challenged by his rival candidate, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, in the tribunal which instructed on Satur­day the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold by-election in the constituency.

The tribunal’s decision was based on “bias” (against the PML-N), instead of justice, Mr Rashid alleged and expressed the hope that the Supreme Court’s verdict on the matter would prove this.

The minister said the tribunal had held that there were some lapses in the election on the part of the ECP, not the PML-N. “The party has been punished for the crime of the commission.”

The NA-122 (Lahore) constituency was one of the four constituencies for which the PTI had sought vote audit and re-election through election petitions. The other constituencies were NA-125 (Lahore), NA-110 (Sialkot) and NA-154 (Lodhran). The election tribunal has already ordered re-polling in the NA-125 constituency.

On May 9, the National Database and Registration Authority submitted a report on polling in NA-122 to the tribunal, saying its system could not verify about 40 per cent of the votes cast in the constituency.

The minister alleged that while issuing the verdict the head of the tribunal had kept in mind his own projection instead of justice.

However, he said, the history of Haripur would be re­­peated if re-polling was conducted in the constituencies of Mr Sadiq and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq.

The Haripur seat was won by a PTI candidate in 2013 but his election was challenged and a PML-N candidate was declared successful in the recent by-election there.

He said the judicial commission formed by the Supreme Court to investigate alleged rigging in the general elections had rejected the charges levelled by PTI.

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2015

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