Pak Poll Body Demands Apology From Imran Khan For Code Violation: Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election commission on Thursday demanded a signed apology from the country’s Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan, for violating the electoral code of conduct while casting his vote in the general election on July 25, according to media reports.
A four-member bench headed by the chief election commissioner Muhammad Raza Khan heard the case against Imran Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI after the Election Commission of Pakistan took notice of the photos of him stamping the ballot paper in full public glare in the NA-53 Islamabad constituency.

Mr Khan’s counsel Babar Awan, who appeared before the Pak election commission, submitted a written reply stating that his client did not intentionally stamp his ballot publicly, Pakistan’s Geo News reported.

According to the reply, photos of Mr Khan’s ballot were taken without his permission. The curtain, used around the ballot for secrecy, had fallen due to the crowd inside the polling booth, it claimed.

“The divider (at the booth) was removed due to the rush,” Mr Awan told the bench. When Mr Khan asked staff for instructions, he was told how to cast his vote, he was quoted as saying by The News.

Mr Awan also sought an end to the case and requested the Pak election commission to issue the notification for Mr Khan’s victory from NA-53 Islamabad constituency.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, however, dismissed the reply submitted by Mr Awan and demanded an affidavit from Mr Khan apologising for the controversial vote casting complete with his signature.

The commission then adjourned the hearing till Friday.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan, on Thursday, accepted the apologies tendered by Mr Khan, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervez Khattak and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman for using indecent language during their election campaigns.

“Do not use such language in the future,” a four-member bench of the Pak election commission headed by the chief election commissioner warned the four leaders while accepting their apologies.

Last month, the Pak election body had issued notices to the four politicians for using indecent language during their election campaigns. It had said notices were taken on the basis of media reports suggesting the use of foul language by the leaders.

Imran Khan had defeated former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the NA-53 Islamabad seat by 48,577 votes.

The electoral body has withheld notification of Mr Khan’s victory from the constituency in view of the pending case against Imran Khan for violating the electoral code of conduct.

According to Section 185 of the Election Act, a person can be given a six-month jail sentence and/or fine of Rs. 1,000 for not casting their vote in secrecy.

On July 30, the Election Commission of Pakistan had sought a written reply from Mr Khan, who has been nominated by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as the next Prime Minister after the party emerged as the largest in the National Assembly in the election.

Mr Khan had contested from five constituencies and had won from all of them. But the Pak election commission has only granted him temporary permission to take oath as a Member of the National Assembly, pending the outcome of the case of violation of electoral code of conduct.