PTI, Imran Khan Ask SC To Form Judicial Commission To Probe Election 'Rigging'

The petition, filed by senior lawyer Hamid Khan on behalf of the PTI and its founder, urged that the apex court form a judicial commission consisting of serving SC judges holding no bias towards anyone and should halt formation of government at federal, Punjab ...

PTI, Imran Khan Ask SC To Form Judicial Commission To Probe Election 'Rigging'

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its founder, Imran Khan, approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking a judicial commission to probe rigging in the 2024 general elections. 

In a joint petition, PTI and Imran Khan said that the Supreme Court cannot be a spectator to the violation of the Constitution and the government's failure to enforce fundamental rights under the Constitution.

"It is therefore respectfully prayed that a Judicial Commission, consisting of serving Supreme Court judges holding no bias towards anyone, be formed to inquire, audit, and examine the manner and process of the general elections of February 8, 2024, and the developments that took place thereafter of compiling false and fraudulent results rendering winners into losers and losers into winners," PTI requested. 

They have further requested the top court to immediately suspend all consequential acts of forming governments at the federal and Punjab levels until the results of the Judicial Commission probe are made public.

"There were obvious and apparent developments on the 8th and 9th of February 2024, witnessed by the whole country, that have completely exposed this fraudulent game of turning losers into winners," the PTI contended in its petition. 

The petition listed the Federation of Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan People Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), and the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) as respondents. 

They have further contended that the ECP had appointed the returning officers and other election officers from the executive branch who were under the full control of the caretaker governments.

The level of manipulation and partisanship can be gauged from only one example: the PTI and Imran Khan claimed that the returning officer of NA-119 was changed overnight to get the favoured results through form 47. 

They further contended that there are hundreds of such examples where election officers, staff, and official machinery were controlled and dictated to allegedly issue results in favour of candidates from the PML-N, the PPP, and the MQM-P.

It added that the governors and law officers, including the Attorney General of Pakistan, were allowed to continue in their office during the elections.

However, the PTI and Imran Khan argued that the worst followed in the aftermath of the polling, when the internet and all social media platforms were "turned to manipulate the election process and hide rigging and manipulation of the election results."

It stated that, according to reports and results announced on certain private television channels, until 12 am on February 9, 2024, candidates fielded by PTI were "winning," and all PML-N leaders were losing by huge margins. 

"Then, the 'traditional magic' came into play. By the morning of February 9, 2024, all results were changed, and winners were turned into losers, and losers became winners by huge majorities."

By the evening of February 9, the PTI and Imran Khan alleged that the PML-N leaders were trying to fake victorious expressions, but defeat was writ large on their faces.

It alleged that Nawaz Sharif "lost" elections in "both constituencies", backed out of his claim to the office of Prime Minister and left it to his brother Shahbaz Sharif to claim.

"The entire nation is witness to all this drama as to how its votes were stolen in daylight robbery. Consequently, it has become a shameful chapter in the chequered political history of Pakistan."

The petition further maintained that many PTI candidates approached the courts, but they were ultimately sent back to the ECP on the pretext of alternate remedies. 

The PTI's petition stated that this is not a matter of election dispute but a failure of the ECP to perform its constitutional duty of holding free and fair elections and illegal conduct of election officers.

It further pointed to the elections, in which three candidates backed by the PTI, including lawyers Shoaib Shaheen, Syed Muhammad Ali Bukhari, and Shaukat Mahmood Basra, contested from the constituencies of NA-47, NA-48, and NA-163, respectively, and won their respective elections with huge margins. 

"Their respective affidavits with comparative charts showing the actual results accordingly to Form-45 manipulated results and the manner of fraud and distortions in the results and mentioned."

The elections, having been rigged and manipulated, deny political justice to the people of Pakistan and those genuinely elected as members, PTI stated.  

"The people allegedly elected and returned to assemblies are breaching the public trust by exercising state authority by way of fraud."

The Constitution cast a heavy duty upon the ECP to hold free, fair and transparent elections in Pakistan. 

"It has failed to perform its duties as given in Articles 218, 219 and related provisions of the Constitution as a result of the elections held on February 8, 2024, which were massively rigged and manipulated through the Returning Officers (ROs) appointed by Respondent No.2 (ECP) and all caretaker governments were part of this fraud upon the electorate."

The caretaker governments in general and caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar in particular, through his acts and deeds, violated their solemn oaths and subverted the Constitution for which he must be tried for high treason, the PTI and Imran Khan demanded.

It further demanded that Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi, who has been rewarded for his great services by being appointed as the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman and then as a member of the federal cabinet, has also violated his oaths and subverted the Constitution for which he must be tried for high treason.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain