Corruption allegations: ECP returns PTI, PML-N’s petitions

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Corruption allegations: ECP returns PTI, PML-N’s petitions
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday rejected a PTI petition seeking to withhold the notification of Senator-elect Yusuf Raza Gilani’s victory and making the allegedly bribed parliamentarians party to the case.
A four-member bench of the commission asked the PTI lawyer to file an amended petition making the lawmakers alleged to have been bribed a party. Gilani was the consensus candidate of Pakistan Democratic Movement against Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh of PTI and its allied parties in the March 3 Senate polls.
Senator-elect from Punjab Barrister Ali Zafar of PTI, who appeared before the commission as counsel for PTI, argued that rigging was carried out during the Senate polls through money and offer of party tickets.
Referring to the video of Ali Haider Gilani, he said rigging was evident a day before the elections, as it went viral in the media within no time. To this, the Election Commission Member from the Punjab Justice (retd) Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi said the transcript of the leaked video had already been provided to the commission.
Qureshi asked for making those alleged to have been bribed as party to the case on which Ali Zafar said they could not be made party but the commission could summon them as witnesses.
Ali Zafar said 178 members expressed confidence in the prime minister and had corruption not been committed [in the Senate elections], Dr Hafeez Sheikh would have got the same number of votes.
Ali said Prime Minister Imran Khan had expressed fears of corruption ahead of the Senate elections. He said the video of Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son came to light before the Senate elections.
To this, Altaf Qureshi asked him, “Do you know all the people in this video because all of them should have been party to the petition?”Ali Zafar said offer was made to two PTI members in the video, one of whom was Faheem Khan and the other was Jamil Ahmed.
Qureshi asked Ali Zafar how he would prove that both the persons were Faheem Khan and Jamil Ahmed and how he would prove that the presenter was Ali Haider Gilani.
Qureshi maintained, “The ones who bribe and those who take it are equally responsible for the offence”.
Qureshi contended that the case could go ahead if the members in the video provide the affidavit.
He said every political party was requesting for withholding the notification of Gilani’s victory, while the Election Commission could notify a candidate and later disqualify him. He noted that Yusuf Raza Gilani was not mentioned in the video or audio, while action would be taken against the person who took and gave the money.
Ali Zafar assured Qureshi that he would bring the affidavit on Wednesday (today). PTI lawmakers Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Bokhari and Kanwal Shauzab had filed a petition with the Election Commission last week, urging it to withhold the notification.
It was filed on the basis of a leaked audio clip of Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah purportedly bargaining with four PTI lawmakers for their votes in the Senate elections and a video of Gilani’s son Ali Haider Gilani in which he was showing some PTI MNAs techniques how to waste their ballot papers.
The Election Commission Monday accepted PTI’s application seeking an early hearing of its plea for disqualification of Gilani and fixing hearing for March 9 instead of March 11. The PTI lawmakers urged that the matter was extremely important, as a senator elected through corrupt practices was now aspiring to become the chairman Senate.
Hearing PML-N petition, Justice (R) Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi asked its lawyer Jehangir Jadoon to file a fresh application. Jadoon represented Murtaza Javed Abbasi.
During the hearing, Qureshi remarked said those involved in the video scandal be made party to the case so that the Commission issued them notices. He observed that if the Commission disqualified parliamentarians by just watching the video then the assembly would lose all of its members.
He said all those MPs who had admitted to receiving money should be made party to the case. “Unless you name people, we can disqualify them. Make them party to the case,” said Qureshi.

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