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August 10, 2018

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ECP demands signed apology from Imran

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday demanded a signed apology from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for violating the electoral code of conduct while casting his vote during the general elections.

The Election Commission had issued notices to Ayaz Sadiq, Fazlur Rehman and Pervaiz Khattak for using abusive language against other leaders that had been aired and published by the media, besides on social media. However, the electoral body accepted the apology of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and PTI leader Pervaiz Khattak in cases pertaining to the use of indecent language during their election campaigns. A four-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza, announced its reserved verdicts in the cases and asked politicians to desist from using foul language in the future.

Earlier in the day, Ayaz Sadiq and Prevaiz Khattak had tendered their separate apologies to the Election Commission. Maulana Fazlur Rehman had already submitted an apology. Ayaz Sadiq’s lawyer Kamran Murtaza submitted the apology on his behalf. The counsel contended he was apologising on behalf of Ayaz Sadiq to everyone, who was hurt by his remarks, adding that one tends to misspeak while delivering a speech.

To this, the chief election commissioner reminded him that Ayaz Sadiq had recently questioned what was the ‘auqaat’ (standing) of the Election Commission and now he should see his own 'auqaat'. At that particular point, the video clip of Ayaz Sadiq’s statement was also played before the bench, wherein he had passed this remark, widely splashed on the electronic and print media. The lawyer again responded, "I want to respectfully apologise once again." However, before the bench reserved its verdict on the matter, a clip was also played of the PML-N leader allegedly using derogatory language against political opponents.

Meanwhile, Pervaiz Khattak appeared before the Election Commission himself. A video clip showing Khattak apologising over his remarks was also played as the verdict was reserved. The clip was released by the PTI central media department. Interestingly, the Election Commission had linked his victory notification to the outcome of the case. Imran Khan, who was served a notice after he termed those going to welcome the deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on his arrival from London as ‘donkeys’, had submitted an apology last month. Imran’s counsel Babar Awan had then argued before the bench that donkey was a common word that was used even by teachers for their students. However, the Election Commission did not buy the argument.

Babar Awan also submitted a written statement on behalf of Imran Khan for violation of secrecy of ballot, claiming that the prime minister-in-waiting had not deliberately shown his vote while casting the ballot in the July 25 general elections. He prayed that photographs of Imran's ballot were taken without his permission. The ECP dismissed the reply and summoned an affidavit from Imran apologising for the breach of ballot secrecy with his signature. The bench adjourned the hearing till today (Friday).

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