ECP reserves verdict in Imran’s controversial voting case

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has reserved verdict in the case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan for violating the electoral code of conduct by casting his vote publicly instead of going behind the voting screen.
A written reply and an affidavit were submitted by the PTI chief during the hearing Friday held by a four-member bench that was headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza.

The commission had sought a signed apology from Imran and also rejected the response submitted by his counsel Babar Awan a day earlier.

The suo motu case against Imran was heard after the ECP took notice of Imran publicly stamping the ballot paper in NA-53 Islamabad constituency, instead of going behind the voting screen to cast his vote in secrecy.
According to the PTI chief’s counsel, his client did not intentionally stamp his ballot publicly. The reply stated that photos of Imran’s ballot were taken without his permission, while the curtain, used around the ballot for secrecy, had fallen due to crowd inside the polling booth.
Awan had also sought an end to the case and requested the ECP to issue notification for Imran’s victory from NA-53 Islamabad. However, the ECP dismissed the reply and ordered Imran to submit a signed apology.
Imran won 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.
The electoral body, however, withheld notification of his success from the constituency in view of the pending case against the PTI chief for violating the electoral code of conduct.
Section 185 of the election act states that a person can be given a six-month jail sentence and/or fine of Rs1,000 for not casting their vote in secrecy.