PTI chief testifies before election tribunal, calls for scrutiny of each ballot paper
Tribunal to decide on Monday whether or not to open the bags
Sadiq’s lawyer says Imran Khan has not submitted any evidence of rigging before tribunal
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday recorded his evidence before an election tribunal pertaining to alleged rigging in the NA-122 constituency, taking the stance that the evidence of the allegation will be brought to the fore once the ballot bags are opened.
The proceedings were part of the case Khan has filed against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate and National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq who defeated the PTI chief in NA-122 in last year’s general election.
Speaking to reporters after recording his statement before the tribunal headed by Kazim Ali Malik, Imran Khan said that his “evidence” had been submitted before the judge and a decision will be taken on Monday whether the ballot bags would be opened or not.
“We have provided all our evidence and have put forward our stance that all the evidence is in the bags. Once they are inspected, everyone will know what happened in the election,” said Khan.
“I won three seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; I wrote a letter to Sadiq that if he wanted he could get opened the ballot bags of those three constituencies,” Khan said, adding that he would have agreed to get the ballot bags recounted if he was in Sadiq’s place.
NO EVIDENCE SUBMITTED:
On the other hand, Sadiq’s lawyer Barrister Asjad Saeed told reporters that the PTI chief had not submitted “even a single piece of evidence” before the tribunal.
“Instead of providing evidence, Khan asked the tribunal to open the ballot bags which means that the PTI chief is asking the court to produce the proof of rigging,” he said.
An election tribunal had earlier directed the PTI chief to testify in support of his allegations of rigging by Sadiq in NA-122.
During the proceedings, six witnesses presented by the petitioner were cross-examined by Barrister Saeed. The witnesses were polling agents of PTI who, in their written statements, had alleged that they were “forcibly expelled from the polling booths by the presiding officers”.
They alleged that the presiding officers stamped ballot papers in favour of PML-N, adding that they protested against the “unfairness”, but to no avail.
Sadiq’s counsel pointed out that a First Information Report (FIR) was already lodged against the “fake” oath commissioner who attested the affidavits of Khan’s witnesses and hence the affidavits should not be made part of the case record.
Khan’s counsel Advocate Anees Hashmi said it was not the job of applicants to check the validity of an oath commissioner, adding that the authorities concerned should take action against any “fake” oath commissioners working in court premises.
While the PTI chief was busy recording his “evidence” before the tribunal, his supporters nearly came to blows with workers of the PML-N, who had also gathered outside the election tribunal office.
The PTI workers started raising the viral slogan “Go Nawaz Go” when Imran Khan reached the Punjab Election Commission office. The sloganeering provoked the PML-N workers to retaliate by shouting “Go Imran Go” slogans. The two sides also exchanged derogatory remarks about each other’s leaders but before the situation could get out of hands, PTI and PML-N leaders intervened and stopped their respective supporters from sloganeering.