ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday rejected a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) petition seeking the withholding of the notification of PPP’s Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani’s victory on the Islamabad General seat in the recently-held Senate elections.
However, it admitted for hearing a plea regarding a set of recordings that purportedly show Yousaf Raza Gillani’s son, Ali Haider Gillani, attempting to purchase votes and advising lawmakers how to waste their votes.
Shortly after the decision was announced, the ECP issued the victory notification for Gillani and the PTI’s Fawzia Arshad as the returned candidates on Islamabad’s General and Women’s seat, respectively.
A four-member committee of the ECP had earlier today reserved its verdict on the matter after hearing arguments from the ruling party.
The PTI had approached the electoral body after recordings emerged in which Gillani’s son, Ali Haider Gilani, was recorded telling PTI lawmakers how to discard their votes just before the March 3 polls. Further recordings had suggested that money and other incentives were also offered in exchange for votes.
The Opposition’s candidate, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, had defeated the government’s nominee for the seat on March 3, triggering a strong reaction from the government.
PM Imran Khan openly accused the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) of using money to influence the Senate election.
After the ECP issued its verdict on the matter, the PTI claimed victory saying the ECP has accepted the first part of their petition, which was related to the Ali Haider Gillani video.
“If you and your son are issued notices and you are asked to explain whether you used corrupt practices and stole votes, you have lost the ethical grounds to contest Senate chairman election,” said PTI’s Malika Bokhari to Gillani in a press statement.
“Take yourself out of the race for the PDM’s candidate for Senate election,” she told the former prime minister, adding that he no longer had any moral justification to contest the Senate chairman election anymore.
PTI’s Farrukh Habib said that the ECP had seen Ali Haider Gillani’s video and issued notices relating to it. “This means the ECP has seen our evidence and there is credibility in them,” he said.
During today’s hearing, member ECP Irshad Qaiser noted that PTI had been directed to nominate those of its members who featured in the video as well.
To this, PTI’s counsel, Barrister Ali Zafar, said an affidavit from the person who made the video had been attached with a fresh application along with the transcript.
“Jamil Ahmed Khan and Fahim Khan are in this video,” he notified.
Another ECP member, Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, said those who gave the bribe and the ones who took it are equal for us.
“We demand you to present both parties,” he said.
“In pursuance of Section 124 of the Elections Act. 2017 and all other powers enabling it in that behalf, the Election Commission hereby publishes the names of the following candidates returned to the Senate of Pakistan against one General seat and one seat for the category of Women from Federal Capital or place of the Members whose term will expire on 11 March, 2021 under clause (3) of Article 59 of the Constitution,” stated the notification.
He said that it is the beauty of democracy that the ballot is kept secret. To this, the PTI’s counsel said, “We are so disturbed by this beauty that we are returning here again and again.”
Meanwhile, the Election Commission also issued the notification of Yousuf Raza Gilani’s victory from the Senate Islamabad General seat and PTI’s Fawzia Arshad’s victory on the Women’s seat.