‘Nothing new’ in rigging evidences, FAFEN unimpressed

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  • Says political parties have run out of legal options, presenting unsubstantiated arguments in JC

 

In an interview, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) Programmes Head Muddassir Rizvi said that there was nothing new in the evidences being presented by political parties before the judicial commission probing alleged rigging in 2013 General Elections.

“I don’t see anything new (in these evidences). These have already been presented before the media in one way or the other,” he said.

Terming the rigging allegations as “unsubstantiated”, he said that the alleged role of returning officers (ROs) and presiding officers (POs) as well as printing of extra ballot papers had already been talked out and written upon in the media.

To a question, Rizvi said that JC was “not an inquisitorial commission”, which had also been clarified in its terms of reference. He said that the commission’s working was similar to that of a routine election tribunal, where political parties had been asked to come up with some acceptable evidence for proving their allegations and counter allegations.

However, he was of the view that the proceedings of the commission were beneficial in a way as people were learning about the social and political mechanics of elections. He said it was being discussed what loopholes needed to be plugged in for holding free and transparent elections in the country.

Rizvi said that the arguments presented by opposition parties before the judicial commission were not well prepared and most of the parties, particularly Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), were mainly relying on unsubstantiated allegations levelled by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its chief Imran Khan.

The reason for not presenting well-formed arguments according to him was that majority of them had already utilised their legal options while appearing before elections tribunals and now they had nothing new to present.

Having exhausted all their legal options, these parties are asking the commission to open ballot bags for additional proof, he maintained.