CEC laments ‘vote-trading’ by parliamentarians
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday hinted that it might seek help from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and intelligence agencies to probe alleged horse-trading in March 3 elections for 52 Senate seats.
The suo motu notice of alleged horse-trading during Senate elections, held on March 3, was heard by a five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan.
During the proceedings, the CEC said, “It is unfortunate that those who sell their vote, and those who buy it are both parliamentarians.”
“Buying and selling of votes is a crime,” said CEC, adding that political parties should assist the ECP in this case.
The commission has summoned eight parliamentarians for assistance in the case.
The ECP also hinted that they might get assistance from the FIA and other intelligence agencies for investigation in this case.
The counsels of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Farooq Sattar represented their clients whereas State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb appeared in person.
Shahid Gondal, PTI head’s lawyer, told ECP that the party has already formed a committee to investigate horse-trading and will submit a final report after completion of the inquiry.
“PTI will ensure complete cooperation with ECP in this regard,” Gondal said while talking to media outside ECP.
The hearing was adjourned until April 4, as ECP summoned political party leaders and lawmakers to assist in the case.
On March 3, 52 senators were elected to the Upper House with the majority supported by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
On March 12, however, the joint opposition clinched a surprise victory when its candidate, Sadiq Sanjrani, was elected as Senate chairman after getting 57 votes against 46 of Raja Zafarul Haq, the candidate of the ruling party.
ECP took suo moto notice of alleged horse-trading on March 6 and summoned several political leaders who leveled allegations against each other.
‘ECP HOLDS POWERS TO PROBE ELECTIONS’ IRREGULARITIES’:
Meanwhile, Marriyum Aurangzeb said ECP has powers under Article 20 of the Constitution to investigate irregularities in elections.
She was talking to media outside the ECP in Islamabad. She said the commission should take notice of horse-trading and question those responsible for it.
The minister of state for information said if a party with mere 30 seats gets 44 votes, it becomes obvious that the party has used illegal means to win these seats.
She said every institution of the country should work within their constitutional framework.