ECP accepts Imran’s apology, withdraws notice issued earlier

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday withdrew their suo moto notice after accepting the apology of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in ballot secrecy case.
The ECP has directed to issue the success notification of Khan from Islamabad’s NA-53 constituency.
A four-member commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza conducted hearing of the case and announced the verdict.
During the proceedings, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan submitted affidavit in the ECP.
Reply submitted by Khan maintained that he went inside the polling station alone and inquired from the staff regarding stamping the ballot paper.
The polling staff asked me to use a table for the process while the media snapped the picture without prior consent, added Khan in his reply.
PTI chief stressed that he did not violate ECP’s code of conduct but apologize for his actions.
Imran Khan requested ECP to annul the notice issued to him over the violation.
On Thursday, ECP had termed the reply of Imran Khan as ‘inadmissible’ due to absence of his signatures. Meanwhile, the apologies of Imran Khan, Pervez Khattak and Ayaz Sadiq in offensive language case were accepted by the commission.
On July 25, Imran Khan accompanied by his friends and supporters openly cast his vote in the NA-53 constituency where he was contesting the election against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Sibtul Haider, brother of former Senate chairman Syed Nayyar Bokhari.
Instead of going behind the voting screen to cast his vote in private, the PTI chief preferred to publicly stamp the ballot paper placing it on the table of the election officer, with TV cameras filming him. Surprisingly, the presiding officer and other polling staff did not object to the violation.
Under Section 185 (a) of the Elections Act 2017, an election official or a candidate, election agent or polling agent, a voter at a polling station or any person present during vote counting is guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs1,000 or with both, if he/she fails to maintain secrecy of voting or aids in violating secrecy of voting. – NNI

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