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ECP summons leaders claiming horse-trading

By Our Correspondent
March 07, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday announced that it will probe the allegations of horse-trading in the Senate elections and summoned all the party heads and leaders on March 14, who aired such allegations.

Political party heads and leaders including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Farooq Sattar, who levelled the horse- trading allegations, have been asked to appear before the commission with proof on March 14.

Other lawmakers who were served notices include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Information Minister Murriyum Aurangzeb and Ameer Muqam, as well as MQM-P's Khawaja Izhar. Pakistan Sarzameen Party's Raza Haroon was also asked to appear before the commission.

The electoral body has asked them to either appear personally or through a lawyer, failing which the commission would take the decision on its own, said a notification. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan have expressed such allegations. In a chat with media persons outside the Accountability Court on Monday, PML-N Quaid and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif stressed it was crucial to get to the bottom of this issue. “This game of money should be buried. This has happened in the past, but this time it was too open and brazen,” he emphasised.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan said members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly also did horse trading. In a report presented to him by the party’s core group, 15 PTI MPAs were accused of selling their votes.

MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar had announced to challenge the Senate results in the ECP over horse trading. Sattar said he would also approach the Sindh High Court over the matter. PTI MNA Hamidul Haq on the day of Senate elections, several hours before the polling ended, had predicted that from Fata Hidayat Ullah, Shamim Afridi, Mirza Afridi and Hilalur Rehman would return as senators and ultimately, they turned out to be senators-elect in the evening.

Meanwhile, senior leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) held a meeting at party chairman Imran Khan's residence in relation to the recent Senate elections. The 'core group' included PTI MNAs Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Imran, leader Jahangir Tareen and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. It was learnt that Khattak presented a report regarding allegations of horse trading in the Senate elections to Imran and it was deliberated upon.

The report said that 15 party MPAs are accused of selling their votes. On this, Imran tasked Khattak to probe the reported selling of votes during the Senate elections. Meanwhile, PTI Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry said at a news conference said that the names of almost 16 MPAs are in grey area. Fawad added that political action will not be taken against them but the action under the criminal law will be initiated.

He said for the election of Senate chairman, consultations were underway with other small groups, adding that under no condition the party will let the PML-N get elected its nominee as chairman Senate.