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August 11, 2018

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Imran’s apology accepted by ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday accepted PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s apology over the breach of secrecy by stamping his ballot publicly.

The Election Commission’s four-member bench ordered issuance of notification for Imran’s victory in the NA-53, Islamabad constituency, where he stamped the ballot paper in full view of the media instead of going behind the voting screen to do it.

Upon submission of the reply in response to the suo moto notice, signed by Imran, the bench adjourned the hearing for some time and then issued the decision. “That the petitioner has responsibility towards the nation, which is beyond and above his person. It is thus earnestly prayed that the notice be discharged, I respect the electoral laws and the commission,” Imran said in the written reply.

A written reply and an affidavit, as per the direction of the Election Commission bench, was submitted by Imran earlier in the day during the hearing held by the bench, headed by Chief Election CommissionerJjustice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza. A day earlier, the Election Commission had sought a signed apology from Imran and also rejected the response submitted by his counsel Babar Awan. 

His counsel contended that his client did not intentionally stamp his ballot publicly. The reply stated that photos of Imran's ballot were taken without his permission, while the curtain, used around the ballot for secrecy, had fallen due to the crowd inside the polling booth. Imran had returned from NA-53 constituency by defeating former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, having pocketed 92,891 votes in contrast to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader’s 44,314 votes. The bench, however, had withheld the notification of his success from the constituency in view of the pending suo moto case against him.

The development comes on the heels of issuance of notification regarding his wins in four other constituencies and summoning of the much-awaited inaugural session of the new National Assembly, as Imran is poised to become the elected prime minister of Pakistan.

His party senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry have already announced to have mustered up comfortable majority in the legislature for election of Imran as premier in the first round.     Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), however, reportedly wrote a dissenting note in the case. Meanwhile, the Election Commission, in pursuance of sub-section (1) of the Elections Act, 2017, published the name of candidate, Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, returned to the National Assembly as a result of general election from NA-53, Islamabad-II.

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