Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan on Friday tendered an “unconditional written apology” to the election commission for violating the secrecy of the ballot, removing the last possible hurdle in his swearing-in on August 18.
I was told to put my ballot on a table and stamp it when I asked the staffers present there about where to mark the ballot. The media recorded footage of me without my consent while I was casting my vote, and that I had not intended to violate the law. -Imran Khan told the ECP
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in a 3-1 vote, accepted the apology submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief. It also ordered the issuance of notification for his victory in Islamabad’s NA-53 constituency where he stamped the ballot paper publicly instead of going behind the voting screen.
Chief Election Commissioner, retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, disagreed with the ECP’s Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa members, who were in favour of accepting an apology from the PTI chief’s counsel Babar Awan on behalf of Imran Khan for violating the electoral code of conduct.
Imran won the NA-53 seat by defeating former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, bagging 92,891 votes in contrast to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader’s 44,314 votes.
Suo motu case against Imran
- In his written reply, Khan mentioned that he values the ECP as well as the electoral rules. He said that on July 25, he entered an overcrowded polling station, without any companions, to cast his vote.
- The suo motu case against the PTI chief was heard after the ECP took notice of him publicly stamping the ballot paper in NA-53 Islamabad constituency, instead of going behind the voting screen to cast his vote in secrecy.
Indian envoy in Pak meets the PTI chief
- Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria called on Imran Khan and discussed bilateral relations even as he voiced the Indian leadership’s concerns over terrorism and cross-border infiltration. Bisaria also felicitated Khan on his success in the July 25 elections.
(With agency inputs)