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Tuesday June 25, 2024

Daska by-poll irregularities: ECP summons Firdous, Usman Dar, Umar Dar on 30th

Senior PTI members asked through an ECP notice to appear before the committee

By Our Correspondent
August 25, 2022
Board outside Election Commission of Pakistan building in Islamabad.— File
Board outside Election Commission of Pakistan building in Islamabad.— File 

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday summoned three members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan (ex-special assistant to the then CM), Usman Dar (former special assistant to the then PM), and Umar Dar, to appear before the inquiry committee on August 30 for “their role in irregularities” during the by-polls in NA-75, Daska.

The senior PTI members have been asked through an ECP notice to appear before the committee and defend themselves regarding allegations of ‘influencing’ the poll process on Feb 19 last year.

The commission had also conducted a fact finding inquiry, followed by a regular inquiry against all the accused, allegedly found involved in corrupt practices. During the inquiry proceedings, certain facts were revealed by the witnesses and accused, which required further investigation.

The ECP notice, a copy of which is with the correspondent, said that the inquiry categorically stated that you were present in a meeting held on Feb 17, 2021, in the office of the District Police Officer (DPO), in the presence of officers and officials of the district administration, and the police and education department.

“Whereby it is alleged that the conspiracy warranting/ influencing the results came at your behest: That a sum of Rs300,000 each was disbursed to the presiding officers in your presence; That the entire district administration/ police hierarchy was corrupted for carrying out illegal act/ orders related to the actions,” the notice said.

The commission said the three were hereby served with notices to appear in person at the ECP Secretariat, before the inquiry committee, headed by additional secretary (admin), on Aug 30, 2022 at 10am.

The ECP had announced by-election in NA-75, Sialkot-IV, with polling date Feb 19, 2021. Due to bad law and order situation in the constituency and incidents of firing reported in Daska city, the process of polling was either entirely stopped or slowed down. Around 20 presiding officers went missing and instead of delivering the results in the office of returning officers, they remained untraceable throughout the night, allegedly under undue influence and corrupt practices.

The ECP had taken notice of the incidents and declared the poll void under Section 9 of the Elections Act, 2017 and also ordered for re-poll in the constituency. The other three also summoned before the committee are Asif Soni, Arif Soni and Iqbal Soni.

Meanwhile, the ECP disposed of appeals against the fine imposed on PTI Chairman Imran Khan, then the prime minister of Pakistan, and party secretary general (then a federal minister), for committing violations of the election code of conduct during the local government (LG) polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

District Dir monitoring officer had initiated the case against the PTI leaders and imposed Rs50,000 fine on PTI leaders each. A four-member ECP bench heard the matter but none appeared on behalf of Imran and Asad to pursue their appeals, challenging the fine. Therefore, the bench disposed of their applications.