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ECP Seeks Written Apology From Imran Khan

Islamabad (August 09, 2018): ECP on Thursday demanded a written apology from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan for violating the electoral code of conduct while casting his vote during the general election 2018.

A four-member bench headed by the chief election commissioner heard the suo motu case against the PTI chief today, after the ECP took notice of Imran publicly stamping the ballot paper in NA-53 Islamabad constituency, instead of going behind the voting screen to cast his vote in secrecy.

Imran’s counsel Babar Awan, who appeared before the ECP today, submitted a written reply stating that his client did not intentionally stamp his ballot publicly.According to the reply, photos of Imran’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.

The reply further sought an end to the case and requested the ECP to issue notification for Imran’s victory from NA-53 Islamabad.

The ECP, however, dismissed the reply submitted by Awan and summoned an affidavit from Imran apologising for the controversial vote casting complete with his signature.

The commission then adjourned the hearing till tomorrow (Friday).

Earlier on Wednesday, Presiding Officer and Assistant Presiding Officer said in their report that Imran Khan had to stamp the ballot paper publicly as he couldn’t go behind the voting screen to cast his vote in secrecy due to the presence of a large number of people and media in the room.

The report stated that more than 150 supporters and media personnel entered the polling station along with Imran Khan.The PTI chairman tried to reach behind the voting screen to cast his vote in secrecy but he couldn’t due to the crowd, the report added.

The Commission had sought a report from the presiding officer and assistant presiding officer of NA-53 Dhok Jillani Polling Station over violation of the code of conduct during the polls.

Earlier on July 30, the Election Commission of Pakistan sought a written reply from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan till August 16 over casting his vote in violation of the code of conduct during the general election 2018.

Imran’s counsel Babar Awan appeared before the ECP after the electoral body.

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According to Section 185 of the Election Act, a person can be given a six-month jail sentence and/or fine of Rs1,000 for not casting their vote in secrecy.

Speaking to media outside the ECP on Monday, Babar Awan said institutions will be in power during PTI’s rule.

“Individuals will not rule during PTI’s tenure. Institutions will be in power,” he said, adding that the nation’s wishes would be the guiding force for the party.  The Imran Khan-led PTI witnessed a resounding triumph in the country’s general election, whereas rival parties planned protests over alleged vote rigging.

The PTI won 116 National Assembly seats in the ballot, short of the 137 needed for a simple majority but a surprisingly strong showing that helped fuel suspicion of rigging.

Earlier on July 25, the PTI chief stamped his ballot paper in public, breaking the ECP’s rules regarding keeping one’s vote secret.

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The commission has ordered that Imran appear before it in person or submit his reply on the matter through his lawyer.

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