BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 2013 INQUIRY COMMISSION
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD.
BRIEF STATEMENT AND PROPOSALS OF
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PAKISTAN
(CPP) CONCERNING RIGGING IN THE
GENERAL ELECTIONS OF 11 MAY 2013.
1. That the press release of the Supreme Court of Pakistan concerning “General Elections 2013 Inquiry Commission” reads as under:-
“The first meeting of General Elections 2013 Inquiry Commission was held today i.e. 09.04.2015 wherein it was decided that:-
“The General Elections 2013 Inquiry Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “Commission”) held its first meeting today i.e. 09.04.2015. The Commission as a first step decided to invite proposals from the political parties who participated in the General Elections 2013 as provided by subsection (3) of section 5 of the General Elections 2013 Inquiry Commission Ordinance, 2015, which reads:-
“(3) For the purposes of Section 3, any political party which participated in the General Elections 2013 shall, and such other persons as the Commission may permit in the interest of justice may, have the right and opportunity to submit evidence or material and make submissions thereon for consideration by the Commission.”
2. The proposals shall be in the form of brief statement accompanied by supporting evidence or material to be submitted to the Secretary to the Commission by 15.04.2015. The first public hearing by the Commission shall be held on 16.04.2015 at 1:00 p.m. in Court Room No.1 of the Supreme Court at Islamabad. Any person or a counsel appearing on behalf of a political party shall produce due authorization from the head of the party.
3. Mr. Muhammad Hamid Ali, Secretary to the Chief Justice of Pakistan is appointed as Secretary to the Commission.”
In compliance with the above directions of the Commission, it is informed that all the political parties who participated in the General Elections 2013 are invited to submit their proposals in the form of brief statement accompanied by supporting evidence or material (original alongwith seven photostat sets) to the Secretary, General Elections 2013 Inquiry Commission, Supreme Court Building, Islamabad by 15.04.2015 positively.”
2. That the applicant is a political party established in almost every country of the world. In some parts of the world, the Communist Party is a ruling party and in the rest of the countries, it is opposition of the ruling party. Its basic manifesto is to have socialism based on the ideology of Karl Marx, who was a German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist and a great revolutionary of all era. Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) under its subjective condition is in the political arena since long for the social change, free from exploitation of man by man and is working for the welfare of the downtrodden and poor masses. CPP is a registered political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan under the Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 with Sickle as its election symbol and it was the first time that the Communist Party too took part in General Elections of 2013 . Accordingly, the CPP files this application with brief statement and proposals through its Central Chairman, Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik to apprise our party view point concerning the rigging of elections for the kind considerations of the Commission on the following facts and grounds, inter-alia:-
(A) FACTS AND BACKGROUND OF GENERAL ELECTIONS OF 2013.
3. General elections were held in Pakistan on May 11, 2013 to elect the members of the 14th National Assembly and to the four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Elections were held in all four provinces, Islamabad’s federal capital territory and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The remaining two territories of Pakistan, the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were ineligible to vote due to their disputed status.
The fifth largest democracy and second largest Muslim democracy after Indonesia in the world, the elections are noted for the first civilian transfer of power following the successful completion of a five-year term by a democratically elected government.
Prior to the elections, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) formed an alliance with Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) (PML)(Q), while on the other side, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) PML (N) allied with Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) PML(F) and Sunni Movement. Cricketer-turned-politician Mr. Imran Khan led the centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), with the Shia Movement and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) contested the elections.
However, this fact that during the election campaign, the political parties like PPP, ANP, MQM, CPP and some Nationalist Parties of Baluchistan faced all type of threats from the Talibans and the other religious, extremist, separatists and fundamentalists and so they could not properly organize their election campaign and reach the masses freely during the General Elections of 2013 whereas there were no threats to parties like PML (N), PTI, PML (F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) from Talibans, religious, extremist, separatists and fundamentalists and they were free to move anywhere in their constituencies and all over the country to do their election campaign freely. Ofcourse, this aspect has affected the election result of PPP, ANP and others to some extent.
(B) BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PAKISTAN (CPP).
4. The only relevant question before the Commission is that whether the General Elections of 2013 were rigged by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) in an organized and planned way in league with the Election Commission of Pakistan and Returning Officer or not. Our party official statement concerning the rigging of General Elections of 2013 is narrated below for the kind consideration of the Commission:-
Firstly – The split election results and mandate in General Elections of 2013 in four provinces also show the tendency of the people to whom and to which party they voted. In Sind Province, the Pakistan People’s Party emerges as the single largest party whereas the same PPP were rejected badly by the voters of Punjab Province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Baluchistan Province. Similarly the peoples of Punjab voted for Pakistan Muslim League (N) and it emerges as the largest party in Punjab whereas the PML (N) lost badly in Sindh Province. Similarly, the peoples of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and it emerges the largest party in KPK and also succeeded to win some seats in Punjab but PTI badly lost in Sindh and Baluchistan Provinces. Likewise, the different National Parties in Baluchistan have a split mandate whereas the religious parties also got some seats in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan but lost badly in Punjab and Sindh Provinces whereas the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) retained its political base at Karachi and Hyderabad only but its candidates lost badly all over the elections in Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan Provinces. Similarly, the peoples of KPK also not voted for Awami National Party (ANP) and they lost the election too in KPK. Our party also for the first time contested the General Elections of 2013 but the peoples not voted for our party and we with open heart accepted all the results against our party.
Secondly – The Election took place in 272 constituencies, whilst a further 70 seats were awarded to parties having been reserved for women and minority groups; none of the parties achieved the 172 seats needed for an overall majority. The Pakistan Muslim League (N) won the largest number of votes and seats but still fell six seats short; this resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the National Assembly.
However, the speculations for the potential hung parliament were dismissed when the independent candidates joined the PML(N) which allowed party to form a simple-majority government by bringing on-board nineteen independent candidates, thirteen more than the minimum required to form a government. This swing ultimately resulted in Nawaz Sharif becoming the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. If the election would have been rigged in an organized and planned way by PML (N), the PML (N) then certainly have more than 172 seats of their own members and in such a circumstances the PML (N) would not have given too much importance to the 19 independent candidates to form their Government at the Federal level.
Thirdly – In our country, unfortunately the peoples who contest elections are not democratic in their behaviours’ and so they never accept their defeats inspite of the fact that in their inner hearts, they know the reality of their defeats. Similarly, the political parties lack democracy in their ranks and files and it is also our political culture not to accept their party defeats in General Elections inspite of this very fact that every political party including PTI, PPP and ANP fully knows that as to why in such and such constituencies, their candidates were defeated.
Fourthly – Our party is of the strong opinion that the allegations against the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Supreme Court of Pakistan Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Mr. Tassadaq Hussain Jilani and former Judge of the SCP Mr. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramady for involvement in the rigging of General Elections of 2013 through the Returning Officer are not true and these frivolous charges are leveled against them on some personal and for malicious reasons. However, it may be true that some Returning Officer has tampered the results of elections in collaborations with the contesting candidates for their own personal benefits in some of the constituencies but there numbers were very less and it can not affect the overall elections results in the General Elections of 2013.
Fifthly – Similarly the allegations against the then Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Najam Sethi for involvement in the rigging of General Elections of 2013 on 35 seats don’t seem to be factual and true and it seems to be a cock and bull story to us.
Sixthly – However, it is true that in some constituencies where the candidates contesting the election were very influential and their opponent candidates were weak and the influential candidates who were deeply connected with the ‘Establishment’ and were in a position to manipulate the election results in their favours by hook or crook, they had manipulated their own election result but in our opinion, their numbers throughout Pakistan was also very limited in the General Elections of 2013 and such influential candidates also could not affect the overall results of the General Elections of 2013.
Seventhly – That our party knows fully as to why Imran Khan of PTI and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and PML (Q) joined hand together in Sit-in and Dharna in Islamabad and launched malicious campaign of polls rigging without any solid grounds and proofs. All of them as above referred blamed the Pakistan Muslim League (N), former two Chief Justices of Pakistan, Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Mr. Tassadaq Hussain Jilani and former Judge of the SCP Mr. Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramady and the then Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Najam Sethi and alleged that all of them in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan and Returning Officer had hatched a conspiracy for an organized and planned rigging in the General Elections of 2013 but we are sure that neither the Imran Khan (PTI) nor its allied parties has any solid proof against the organized and planned rigging of PML (N) and in such a circumstances, we don’t think they would be able to establish and prove before the learned Commission that their allegations against PML(N) of organized and planned rigging in the General Elections of 2013 were/are true and correct.
Eighthly – The only ground which has been exploited time and again by Chairman PTI Imran Khan for rigging of elections was based on the thumb impression of voters, which cannot be verified by NADRA due to defective ink used for thumb impression by the staff of the Election Commission of Pakistan and by virtue of this irregularities and illegality by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Chairman PTI Imran Khan and others have alleged that the whole General Elections of 2013 held on May 11, 2013 be declared null and void.
Our party is of the opinion that the magnetic ink was not used in several areas and a large number of genuine votes are unverifiable due to use of common ink. On this specific issue, even the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also made the specific statement of the Federal Government on the floor of the National Assembly that 60 to 70 percent votes in all the constituencies could not be verified. He also further said that thumb impressions are not verifiable as poor quality of paper and ink was used in the general elections.
However, on this issue, we are of the opinion that the learned Commission must and should investigate as to why not the election staff did not use magnetic ink on all the polling stations throughout the country and those who cast fake votes at any polling station should be punished and those responsible for providing the same should also be brought to justice but in our party opinion the issue of thumb verification should not be used for political gimmick as is being done by PTI and some others.
(C) PROPOSALS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PAKISTAN (CPP).
5. The factual corrupt and illegal practices of the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Returning Officer under the Representation of the People Act, 1976 have been intentionally ignored by PTI, PAT, PML (Q), PPP, MQM, ANP, JI and all other parties as they were themselves fully involved in all those corrupt and illegal practices in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan and Returning Officer which are narrated below for the kind perusal and consideration of the learned Commission and the Communist Party of Pakistan graciously request this Honourable and learned Commission to pass an appropriate orders in this context for holding free and fair elections scheduled in year 2018 on the following illegal and corrupt practices narrated as under:-
Firstly – That the maximum limit of expenditure to contest the General Elections 2013 was fixed at Rs.15,00,000/- for election of National Assembly and Rs.10,00,000/- for the election of Provincial Assembly vide section 49 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 but 99% of the candidates spends more than one and half crores to three crores of Rupees and submit false return of election expenses due to fear of disqualification from the membership of assembly and the winning candidates always concealed all their major and actual expenses incurred during their election campaign and shows a very small and petty amount incurred on their election expenses, otherwise in practice and during the election campaign, 99% of the winning candidates in General Elections of 2013 infact violated the limits of Rs. 15 lac and Rs. 10 lac as allowed to them vide section 49 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and even this sole score is sufficient for their disqualification but neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission of Pakistan takes any Notice of their fake, frivolous and false election expenses and the net result is that the poor and ordinary peoples cannot contest the elections with the rich and elite classes.
Secondly – That transportation of voters from home to polling stations and then back to home is violation of the section 78(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and is a punishable offence under the section 82 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and so on but none cares for it. 99% of the candidates of all the bourgeoisie political parties violated section 78(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 for bringing the voters from their home to polling stations and then back to their home on the day of polling on May 11, 2013 and this action by them not only violated the Article 4 of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties but also violated the section 78 (5) of the Representation of the People Act which states that “knowingly, in order to support or oppose a candidate, lends, employs, hires, borrows or uses any vehicle or vessel for the purpose of conveying to or from the polling station any elector except himself and members of his immediate family.” The violation of sec 78 (5) is a punishable offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both u/s 82 of the Act but surprisingly the Returning Officer and Election Commission of Pakistan failed to perform their duty entrusted to them under the Election Laws to have fair and free elections. This aspect of providing vehicles to the voters from home to polling station and back is a main hurdle for the common and ordinary man to contest the elections as common and the ordinary man cannot afford such expenses of transportation. Our request to the learned Commission is that either section 78(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 be implemented for General Elections of 2018 or alternatively an appropriate order may be passed to the Federal Government to amend the section 78 (5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 for providing transportation by the Government itself to all the voters from home to polling station and back in the interest of free and fair elections.
Thirdly – That also the candidates contesting the elections should be Ameen, sagacious, righteous and an honest person under Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 but a large majority of the contesting candidates of all the bourgeoisies political parties lacks all these qualities as above referred but neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission of Pakistan cares and has taken any notice of it so far. What is then the purpose of the Article 62 in the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973? The learned Commission should take notice of this specific qualifications of the candidates contesting the elections under Article 62 of the Constitution in the scheduled General Elections of 2018 or alternatively the Government and the Parliament should be directed to amend this Article and restore the original Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 which reads as under:-
“62. Qualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).- A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlise-Shoora (Parliament) unless—
(a) he is a citizen of Pakistan;
(b) he is, in the case of the National Assembly, not less than twenty five years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any electoral roll for election to that Assembly;
(c) he is, in the case of the Senate, not less than thirty years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any area in a Province or, as the case may be, the Federal Capital or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, from where he seeks membership; and
(d) he possesses such other qualifications as may be prescribed by Act of Parliament.”
Fourthly – That the banners, posters and stickers used by all the bourgeoisies political parties were always of larger sizes than the prescribed sizes of (a) Posters 2’ x 3’ (b) Hoardings 3’ x 5’ and (c) Banners 3’ x 9’ but neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission take notice of it. The Returning Officer and the Election Commission of Pakistan were so partial and influenced that knowingly every violations of the bourgeoisies’ political parties closed their eyes and ears till the announcement of the election result.
Similarly the Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties completely prohibits any development schemes where the election is taking place but the party in powers never ever cares for such Code of Conduct for Political Parties and announces development schemes in contrary to all election laws. The learned Commission may kindly also pass an appropriate orders in this context as deemed fit so as to have free and fair elections in our country.
6. That the Election Laws specially the Representation of People Act, 1976 is a very technical in nature and normally it favours the winning candidates and mostly election petitions are dismissed by the Election Tribunals purely on technical grounds and mostly the election petitions were/are never decided on merits. The Election Tribunal only decides on merits if all the provisions of the section 52 to 55 of the Act have been fully comply with by the petitioner. The section 55 (3) says that the Election Petition and all the Annexure and Schedule attached with the Election Petition should be duly signed and verified by the petitioner and also attested by the authorized person/oath commissioner namely in the manner as laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for the verification of pleadings and it is mandatory under section 55 (3) that the election petition and all the documents, annexure and schedule attached with the election petition should be duly attested by the authorized person and any defects in attestation and verification cannot be cured later on and during the trial of the election petition.
The learned Commission may also kindly direct the Federal Government to amend the Election Laws and the Representation of the People Act, 1976 to remove all the technicality and the entire election petition should be heard and disposed of on merits and merits only within the stipulated period of four months.
7. Sir! It would not be out of place to say that judgment dated 08.06.2012 concerning the electoral reforms as passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the Constitution Petition No.87/2011 titled Workers Party and others versus Federation of Pakistan and others reported on the website of http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk/web/page.asp?id=1083 has neither been implemented by the Election Commission of Pakistan nor the Government of Pakistan so far. The learned Commission may kindly also look into this matter as to why neither the Election Commission of Pakistan nor the Government of Pakistan has implemented the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan yet concerning the electoral reforms as passed in the Worker Party case in the General Elections of 2013 and in subsequent Bye-Elections which reads as under:-
“81. In pursuance of the above, we hold and direct as under: –
(a) All the election laws be strictly implemented by the Election Commission in the discharge of its constitutional mandate under Article 218(3) of the Constitution, Representation of the People Act and other laws/rules;
(b) The Election Commission is empowered to check not just illegal actions relating to the election (violating the limits set for campaign finance, etc.) or corrupt practices (bribery, etc.), but is also empowered to review all election activities, including Jalsas, Jaloos, use of loudspeakers, etc. for their effects on the standards of ‘fairness, justness and honesty’ that elections are expected to meet. The Election Commission is also empowered to take preemptive measures to ensure that the spirit of democracy and ‘fairness, justness and honesty’ of elections is fully observed. The Election Commission is, therefore, directed to take all necessary steps to ensure the same;
(c) The Election Commission must undertake monitoring of the election expenses from the day the holding of election is notified. A candidate must account for all the expenses immediately after the election is over. The Declaration Form should include the following further declarations: –
(i) To meet election expenses, I have opened account No.______________ with _____________________ [name & branch of a scheduled bank] and deposited therein the amount permissible for election expenses.
(ii) All election expenditure shall be made out of the money already deposited in the aforesaid account.
(iii) No transaction towards the election expenses shall be made through an account other than the above account. [Copy of bank statement will be annexed with the Return.];
(d) The Election Commission must hold meetings with the candidates and apprise them of the relevant laws/rules, receive from them statements of expenses on weekly basis by engaging election staff and carry out inspection at random at different places. All transactions relating to election expenses should be entered into with GST registered firms/persons;
(e) To facilitate the voters, the number of polling stations may be increased appropriately throughout the country so that the polling stations are not at a distance of more than two kilometres from the place of residence of voters. In this behalf, the Election Commission may take into consideration the suggestions made at the bar, including the provision of official transport to the voters, but in no case, shall it allow the candidates to hire/use private transport on election day. Where arrangement for transport is made by the Election Commission, the routes of such transport should be widely advertised in the print and electronic media for information of the general public;
(f) As regards the handing over of Perchis to the voters at election camps, the Election Commission must take steps to provide the requisite information to the voters by other means as discussed hereinabove. Therefore, to ensure strict compliance with section 84 of Representation of the People Act, 1976 in letter and in spirit, establishing of camps near the polling stations should be banned forthwith. The Election Commission may manage to dispatch extracts from the voters’ list in the name of one or more persons living in a house at least 7 days before the polling day by post, or to save the postage by annexing such extracts with any of the utility bill;
(g) Only such election campaign activities ought to be permitted, which on the one hand fulfil the purpose of the election campaign, and on the other are within the reach of the common man. The petitioners have recommended certain activities, namely, door-to-door campaign, manifesto, canvassing on State television and radio, and candidate – voter interaction/debates, etc. ROPA and other relevant laws have held these activities to be permissible in the eyes of the law. These, therefore, ought to be encouraged by Election Commission on the basis of their merit;
(h) To ensure fair and transparent election, if need be, instead of involving the employees of the Provincial Governments, the employees of Federal Government/autonomous organizations/agencies, including the armed and paraarmed forces may be instructed to carry out stipulated functions at the polling stations;
(i) As regards the introduction of computerized balloting, it is informed that the Election Commission has already undertaken work on it. We, therefore, expect that effective steps will be taken in this regard at an appropriate time;
(j) To achieve the goal of fair, free, honest and just elections, accurate preparation/revision of electoral roll is immediately required to be undertaken by the Election Commission through credible and independent agencies.
Accordingly, we direct the Election Commission to undertake door-to-door checking of voters’ lists and complete the process of updating/revision of the electoral rolls by engaging Army and the Frontier Corps to ensure transparency, if need be;
(k) Corrective measures are required to be taken by the Election Commission to ensure that the election disputes are resolved at the earliest. The Election Commission may also consider establishing a panel of lawyers well conversant with election laws at the State expense to provide free legal services to marginalized segments of society;
(l) The Election Commission is obliged to ensure that all elections witness a substantial participation of the electorate, therefore, all necessary steps must be taken to make voting compulsory in Pakistan as early as possible;
(m) In the ‘First Past the Post’ system of election, the winning candidate does not necessarily receive an absolute majority of all votes cast, therefore, such a candidate does not command the majority of the votes polled. As such, the system of ‘First Past the Post’ violates the principle of majority. The Election Commission may explore ways and means to introduce appropriate system of election including ‘run off election’ and ‘none of the above options’, in the light of the discussion made hereinabove, to ensure true representation of the people and rule of the majority; and
(n) The Election Commission is empowered to frame rules to ensure that the elections are conducted justly, fairly, honestly and in accordance with law and that corrupt practices are guarded against. There is unanimity of views on various suggested courses of action. Therefore, we direct the Election Commission to frame rules and issue instructions to provide legal sanction to these measures and implement the same to achieve the ultimate objective of fair, free, just and honest election.”
Drawn up and filed by:
Dated: 16th April, 2015.
(Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik),
Chairman of Communist Party,
Communist Party Secretariat,
1426-Fateh Jang Chowk,