- JI, MQM witnesses, seven ROs to be cross examined before vote probe JC today
- PTI withdraws decision to bring Imran Khan as witness before JC
Heeding to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q)’s request, a three-member judicial commission (JC) probing alleged rigging in last general elections on Tuesday summoned seven returning officers (ROs) for cross-examination on Wednesday (today), besides calling five witnesses from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and two from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
PML-Q had asked for ROs of 16 constituencies, however the JC only summoned seven of them, including four from National Assembly (NA) constituencies 134, 140, 142 and 164 and three from Punjab Assembly (PA) constituencies 61, 109 and 2015.
Also rejecting Muttahida Deeni Mahaz’s plea for summoning RO from Sindh Assembly constituency 128, the CJP remarked their case was sub-judice in SC and it was not appropriate to bring it in JC.
Testifying before the JC headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Nasirul Mulk, PML-Q’s witnesses Sardar Talib Hussain Nakai, Muhammad Shah Khagga, Khurram Manzoor, Shafaat Hussain, and Azeem Uddin Lakhvi claimed that ROs “made poll results behind closed doors and didn’t even issue them the notices”.
Khurram and Khagga told the JC that tribunals rejected their pleas on technical grounds.
During cross-examination, Khalid Ranjha asked PML-Q’s witness Muhammad Shakir if ROs had called him while compiling the results. He replied that he had not received any notice in this regard, his polling agents were expelled from the room during the compilation of results and he was not allowed to go to the court of the concerned RO.
Upon Shahid Hamid’s query, Shakir said that he had approached the election tribunal (ET) but his petition was dismissed. He added that he had not moved Supreme Court (SC) but resorted to high court over the issue.
Ranjha asked Khurram Manzoor, PML-Q’s candidate from NA-134, if he was called while the results were compiled. He said he was not called and was told that he did not need to come and would be informed.
Answering Ranjha’s question, PA-102 candidate Shafat Hussain said he was not competing with any candidate rather his competition was with the RO, as he was “forcefully defeated” by 2,911 votes. He said he was provided results after three days while he was not allowed presence during compilation of results. After facing from the ET, he too had approached the high court, he added.
Moreover, PTI withdrew its decision for presenting its chairman Imran Khan as witness before JC.
Talking to media after the court proceedings, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader Tallal Chaudry said that he was disappointed by PTI’s decision.