ECP rejects PTI plea to nullify NA-122 by-poll, grants access to voters’ data
ISLAMABAD, Feb 01 (INP): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday rejected Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Aleem Khan’s plea challenging the results of the NA-122 by-poll, but allowed the party access to voters’ data in the constituency.
Aleem Khan, in his 800-page petition filed in November 2015, alleged irregularities and pre-poll rigging in the NA-122 by-election and requested the ECP to declare the election null and void on the basis of ‘technical rigging’.
Aleem Khan contested the NA-122 by-polls against National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq (PML-N) in October. Sadiq reclaimed the seat in the by-election after being de-seated by an election tribunal in August 2015 on an earlier petition of his rival candidate PTI Chairman Imran Khan who had challenged his victory in 2013 general election result on grounds of rigging.
The ECP rejected Aleem’s plea for re-polling in the petition, saying that as the issue was “time-barred” it could not be addressed by the commission. The ECP advised the PTI to take the matter to the election tribunal.
However, the election tribunal had last week dismissed Aleem Khan’s petition on grounds that it was not maintainable as issues raised in it were beyond its jurisdiction.
The ECP accepted Aleem Khan’s plea for access to the voters’ records citing Section 45 of the The Representation of the People Act 1976, which pertains to the ‘public inspection of documents’.
Under Section 45, all documents retained by the Commission except the ballot papers can be requested and inspected by the public.
In its decision, the ECP quoted the Act and said: “They are entitled to have copies of records. They can obtain documents listing persons registered under a specific address.”
The ECP further said that the petitioner was allowed access to documents listing exclusion, inclusion and deletion details of voters in the 2015 electoral roll and could compare it to the 2013 rolls.
The PTI could also access copies of supplementary lists published in July 2015, including records justifying any additions or deletions, and records of any additions made in the electoral rolls after the announcement the NA-122 by-election’s schedule, the ECP said.
But the ECP observed with serious concerns that some affidavits filed by the petitioner were false, and therefore, the Commission reserved its right to proceed against him in accordance with the law after the final verdict from the tribunal.
Aleem Khan, in his petition, contended that some 30,000 votes were altered in the constituency between the general and by-elections and 22,000 of which lacked the documentary evidence necessary for the transfer process.