ECP rejects Imran Khan’s apology in ballot secrecy violation case

  • Imran's reply did not bear his signature: ECP

ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected the apology of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and in-waiting prime minister Imran Khan over violating the secrecy of ballot while casting his vote during recent general elections.

Babar Awan, the counsel for the PTI chief, appeared before the electoral body on Thursday and submitted the reply regarding the controversial vote casting.

Awan contended that there were scores of people when Imran Khan arrived at the polling booth, following which the screens intended to keep the procedure secret were dispersed and so Imran cast his vote publicly.

Pleading the electoral body to accept the apology, Awan asked for the issuance of the victory notification of Imran Khan from NA-53.

On the other hand, ECP asked Awan to submit a new affidavit and reply on Friday citing that the reply submitted by the cricketer-turned-politician did not bear his signature.

However, the electoral body accepted the apology of Khan regarding the use of foul language during the election campaign.

Khan had compared his political rivals with ‘donkeys’ in the fraught election campaign that pitched him against Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party.

On July 25, Khan was seen publicly stamping the ballot paper on the table with TV cameras filming him, instead of going behind the voting screen to cast his vote in secrecy. At that time, neither the presiding officer nor other polling staff objected to the violation.

Later, the election watchdog stated that Imran Khan cast his vote for the 11th general Elections while showing it publicly, which was contradictory to the Code of Conduct.

According to Section 185 of the Election Act, a person can be given a six-month jail sentence and/or fine of Rs1,000 for not casting their vote in secrecy.

PTI leader Naeemul Haque has placed the blame for Imran’s controversial vote casting on the polling staff present at the occasion.

Speaking on Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’, Haque argued that there was no place to cast vote in private as the polling booth had become crowded far beyond its capacity, for which the polling staff is to be blamed.