ECP seeks more evidence from petitioner in Senate poll video scandal

By Muhammad JuniadPublished On 22 Feb 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has heard the petition against the 2018 Senate election video scandal and sought more evidence from the petitioner to take further action accordingly.

A five-member commission headed by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja heard the petition of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Murtaza Javed Abbasi against the video showing lawmakers allegedly involved in horse-trading during 2018 Senate polls.

Murtaza Javed Abbasi and his lawyer Jahangir Khan Jadoon appeared in the hearing.

The PML-N leader demanded ECP holding a thorough inquiry over the horse-trading video scandal through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The election commission asked the petitioner to submit more evidence to act accordingly.

Jahangir Khan Jadoon told the five-member commission that those who could be watched in the video are all lawmakers.

CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja said some of the persons in the video have delivered statements.

The petitioner said that the lawmakers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are being strongly criticized after the video surfaced. He alleged that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central leaders Pervez Khattak and Asad Qaiser were involved in the matter as it will also come under the definition of horse-trading for paying their lawmakers by a political party.

Abbasi added that two members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) were not ready to give any statements despite being seen in the video.

Irshad Qaiser questioned what will the petitioner say about the votes lawmakers cast to the Senate chairman. Another member of the commission, Altaf Ibrahim, remarked that no one is ready to accept [electoral] defeat.

CEC said that the next hearing of the petition will be conducted after the Senate elections. The chief election commissioner adjourned the hearing till March 9.

On February 9, a video had surfaced which exposed the horse-trading during Senate elections in 2018 by some party lawmakers who could be seen as counting bundles of currencies and hiding it inside the bag.

The video had shown how the loyalty of 20 lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was changed after horse-trading during Senate elections in 2018. The lawmakers had been ousted from the political party by the central leadership after holding a thorough investigation.

On February 15, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had filed a petition in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against a video scandal.

Prime Minister and Chairman PTI, Imran Khan, Speaker National Assembly, Asad Qaiser and Defense Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Director-General (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have been made respondent in the plea.