Pakistan: Rigging charges; Senators call for legal action against CEC


ISLAMABAD – Senators on Tuesday called for a le­gal action against incumbent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikan­dar Sultan Raja for his alleged failure to hold free and fair elections in the country amid demands for an inves­tigation into allegations of rigging in national elections.

The house that met under the chair of Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani debated an adjournment motion re­garding the situation arising out of the controversial results of General Election 2024 after suspending the question hour.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmed went a one step ahead to criticize the elec­toral watchdog demanding res­ignation of CEC and initiation of the proceedings of high treason against him under Article 6 of the constitution.

Referring to Article 218 of the Constitution, JI Senator Mushtaq said that the Election Commis­sion of Pakistan (ECP) had failed in fulfilling its responsibility that election is conducted “honestly, justly, fairly, in accordance with law and all corrupt practices are guarded against.”

“The ECP has committed trea­son,” he said while demanding the electoral watchdog to apolo­gize to the people.

Senator Mushtaq concluded by making another demand that a judicial commission should be formed at the level of the Su­preme Court to conduct an in­vestigation into alleged manipu­lations in Form-45.

National Party Senator Tahir Bizinjo also called for arresting the CEC and registering a case against him for violating the con­stitution by saying that “most rigged and controversial” elec­tions were held under his watch. He said that the situation was worst in Balochistan where drug lords and narcotics sellers made their way into the assemblies through rigging.

PTI Senator Syed Ali Zafar tak­ing part in the debate said that the country’s youth brought “a revolution of hope” despite pre-poll rigging. “But post-poll rig­ging was done in the darkness of night after failure to get de­sired results through pre-polls rigging,” he added. He warned of spreading anarchy and unrest in the country if those who were given a mandate by the people were not given the right to rule.

Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) Senator Sardar Shafiq Tareen alleged that three constituencies in Balochistan were sold out against a bribe of Rs 1.5 billion. He said that win­ners were declared losers in the province through post-election rigging. PML-N Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui said that those talking about rigging in 2024 elections should also recall that 2018 elections were also rigged. He added that his party leader Nawaz Sharif was also in jail in 2018 if PTI chief Imran Khan had been sent behind the bars before the recent elections.

PTI Senator Saifullah Abro de­manded that forensic audit of Form-45 of all constituencies of the national and provincial as­semblies should be held to find out the truth. He also stressed action against returning officers involved in rigging.

PML-N Senator Mushahid Hus­sain Sayed urged the need for the formation of a “unity govern­ment” consisting of PPP, PML-N and PTI. “There is an initiative for the political parties to form a uni­ty government,” He warned that if political parties did not take the initiative, then the same will go to the General Headquarters (GHQ), a reference to the Armed Forces. He said that the biggest responsibility lay with PML-N supremo and former prime min­ister Nawaz Sharif to move for­ward. Senator Mushahid urged the need for a healing touch by releasing all political prisoners including Imran and missing per­sons. “There should be a general amnesty,” he said and questioned if they can talk to banned Teh­reek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), then why not with politicians?

At the end of the sitting, PML-N Senator Saadia Abbasi objected when Caretaker Minister for Hu­man Rights Khalil George got the floor to wind up the motion.

Senator Saadia said that the minister had no mandate to speak over the issue. Meanwhile, she pointed out quorum and Deputy Chairman Senate Mir­za Muhammad Afridi adjourned the house till Friday due to lack of quorum.__The Nation