ECP accepts Imran’s apology for voting in open

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ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday accepted Imran Khan’s apology for violating secrecy of the ballot on election day and withdrew its notice against him — removing one hurdle from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s path in taking oath as the prime minister next week.
Khan on July 25 had cast his vote at a polling station of NA-53 (Islamabad) where he defeated former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. TV footage showed Khan, accompanied by his friends and supporters, including Zulfi Bokhari, publicly stamping his ballot paper on the presiding officer’s table.
The ECP, in a 3-1 vote, accepted Khan’s apology. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza disagreed with the ECP’s Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa members, who were in favour of accepting the apology.
Justice Raza was of the view that evidence showing disrespect of the vote should be recorded.
With the withdrawal of its notice, the ECP is likely to issue a victory notification for the PTI chief for NA-53, which had been withheld due to this case.
Earlier today, Imran Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan submitted an unconditional written apology before the commission on behalf of the PTI supremo.
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. According to Khan’s reply, furniture was lying everywhere in the station.
“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,” Khan told the ECP.
He added that the media recorded footage of him without his consent while he was casting his vote, and that he had not intended to violate the law.
Khan won all five National Assembly constituencies he contested from in the polls. The ECP’s notifications about his victory from three constituencies had already been conditionally issued, and a victory notification for NA-131 was issued on Thursday.

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