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ECP begins probe into allegations of horse-trading in Senate elections

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday said it will use all powers at its disposal to probe the allegations of massive horse-trading in the recently held Senate elections. 

Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza lamented that unfortunately, those who sold their votes and those who bought them were parliamentarians. It was widely reported that horse-trading was done in March 3 elections for 52 Senate seats. He added that purchasing and selling of votes was a serious crime.

Addressing the politicians and representatives of parties who attended the hearing, the CEC said the rationale behind summoning them was to seek their assistance for an investigation into the matter. He said successful senators bagged more votes than their parties’ representation in the respective provincial assemblies.

Uzma Bukhari said PTI senator Sarwar Chaudhry himself admitted in a TV talk show that six of the PML-N lawmakers voted for him.

PTI lawyer Shahid Gondal said the party had already formed a committee to carry out a probe against the lawmakers who voted for candidates of other parties instead of their own.

The electoral body took notice of media reports about alleged horse-trading in Senate elections and directed politicians making such claims to come up with proofs if they have any.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said the Commission has powers under Article 20 of the constitution to investigate irregularities in elections. She said it should take notice of horse-trading and question those responsible for it. If a party with mere thirty seats gets forty-four votes, it became obvious that the party had used illegal means to win these seats, she added.

The minister said every institution of the country should work within the framework of the Constitution.



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