PPP moves police against judge over poll rigging
10 October, 2013
LAHORE: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on Wednesday moved an application in the Police Station B-Division Kasur for registration of an FIR against the returning officers, one of whom is a judge, for rigging in the NA-139 Kasur constituency during elections.
The application, field by PPP candidate Chaudhry Manzoor who had lost the May 11 election from NA-139, has been moved under different sections of the Representation of the People Act 1975 (RPA) and the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). It invokes sections 81, 82 (A), 83, and 87 of RPA and sections 166, 167, 171-E, 171-F, 405, 417, and 425 of the PPC. The complainant has accused returning officer of NA-139 Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Saleem and Assistance Returning Officer Mirza Ashfaqul Hasan, who is a grade-16 officer of the education department, of rigging in the constituency, saying both of them were directly responsible for producing transparent results of the elections.
While talking, Chaudhry Manzoor said that he has given the application to the station house officer (SHO) of the police station in person, who received it after some arguments. This is the first time in the history of the country that a party is going to register a case against a judge over the allegation of rigging. Interestingly, the application was drafted with the consultancy of Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, a central leader of the PPP and prominent lawyer who has played a vital role in lawyers movement for restoration of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
In the application, it has been claimed that there were around 177 polling stations where Form XIV was found missing, having been destroyed to enable fictitious entries by the returning officer in the final results, while Form XV was found missing at 178 polling stations. In five polling stations counterfoils were missing, which means that the total count was fictitious. In 12 polling stations, bags were found stuffed with wastepaper and no record was found. The application further states that electoral list was missing at 103 polling stations, while it was found blank at 32 polling stations, and at 27 polling stations counterfoils were less than the total votes cast, showing that ballots were not cast at the polling stations.
The complainant has further claimed that in three polling stations counterfoils were more than the total votes cast and counted, while in four polling stations, counterfoils were mismatched, and in other four polling stations they were found unused. Before lodging the application, Aitzaz Ahsan and Chaudhry Manzoor, along with PPP Lahore President Samina Khalid Ghurki and other leaders, addressed a press conference at the Lahore Press Club and claimed that they had found more than 0.134 million bogus votes during inspection on scientific grounds at the behest of the election commission on July 24.
Aitzaz announced that if the police failed to register the FIR against the alleged culprits on the application, they would go to the court. He claimed that both the returning officer and the assistant returning officer were directly involved in rigging and changing the results against the PPP in the constituency NA-139 Kasur. To a question, Aitzaz avoided using the word uttered by PTI Chairman Imran Khan about the judiciary's role in May elections and on which he faces contempt of court, however, Aitzaz said judiciary's role in elections was alamnak (tragic) and could not be appreciated.
He also announced that his party would move applications and requests to the election commission for re-counting of votes in different constituencies, especially in Punjab, as they suspect rigging against the PPP candidates. It is noteworthy that under these sections of the RPA and PPC, the accused could be punished for three months to two years in prison at least along with fine of Rs 0.1 million. Under the RPA Section 81 a person is guilty of undue influence, if he induces or compels any person to vote or refrains from voting.
Section 82A of RPA pertains to capturing of polling station and polling booth to allow only supporters of one party to exercise their right to vote and prevent others from doing the same. Under section 83, a person is guilty of illegal practice if he fails to comply with the provisions of section 50 as well as votes or applies for a ballot paper for voting more than once in the same polling station.