ECP member calls Afzal's interview a fixed match, Imran’s allegations baseless

*Kayani says ECP and judiciary being defamed in a planned conspiracy

LAHORE – Member of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Justice (retired) Riaz Kayani on Monday refuted the allegations levelled by former additional secretary Afzal Khan of rigging in the last election and termed his TV interview a fixed match.

Addressing a press conference, he said that all his allegations were baseless and the ECP members and judiciary were being defamed in a planned conspiracy. He appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take sou mottu of the issue. Kayani said that Afzal Khan had levelled false allegations after not being given an extension in his services for which he was not qualified.

“He (Afzal) demanded promotion twice a year which I rejected,” the ECP member said. "He (Afazal) submitted an application that he should be upgraded to grade 22. When his case came to me, I turned down his application on the ground that just a year before he was upgraded to grade 21 and was seeking another up-gradation,” he said.

He pointed out that it did not happen even in DMG group and one had to spend two years in a grade before getting any further promotion. The Supreme Court had given a ruling in this regard, he said. He also said that he turned down Afzal Khan's application on solid grounds and wrote a note in this regard which was available in record.

“This is the reason which promoted him to give all this renting on the TV,” he said. Kayani asked media to publish his note for public interest as it was a matter of life and death for him. He mentioned a number of high-level posts where he worked before becoming a member of the Election Commission. “I think it was the biggest mistake of my life to become a member of the Election Commission,” he said.

He said that he was being aligned with a political party hypothetically and on the basis of that was being disgraced. Kayani said that the former additional secretary of the Election Commission also exaggerated about his salary and pension. “He (Afzal Khan) has been levelling allegations for 14 months after the election, which shows that there is a conspiracy behind it,” he said.

Kayani said that the personality of Afzal Khan was controversial even during his service tenure. Afzal had retired a few days after the election and why he did not speak at that time, he questioned. “All allegations should be investigated and I am also ready to go to jail if found guilty,” he said. Kayani said that his appointment was made in accordance with rules and regulations and he took all decisions in consultation with the other members of the Election Commission.

He said that ECP had transferred Mehboob Anwar from Karachi to Lahore because elections in Punjab were always tough to handle and his appointment was also made under rules and regulations. “I was never associated with Sharif brothers or any other political party,” he clarified. “I do not want to name the PTI chief but his allegations of rigging and against judges are absolutely baseless and unverified votes cannot be called bogus or fake,” he added.

To a question, Kayani said that no extra ballot papers were published from Urdu Bazaar but 22 persons were brought from there for placing serial numbers on ballot papers and the ECP had their complete record. Refusing to resign, he said it would be considered weakness on part of the ECP members. He demanded powers for the ECP members through electoral reforms for transparent and fair election.

Kayani said that Afzal Khan was a controversial personality during his service as he had appointed his daughter in Grade 15 in the ECP and presented his wife's medical certificate of a huge amount which proved bogus after investigations. To another question, he said that he had never approached anybody for his own appointment and that his daughter was also appointed on merit.

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