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Decks cleared for Imran Khan's oath on August 18  7 Months ago

Source:   Times Of India  

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday accepted the unconditional written apology of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan's for violating the code of conduct by casting his ballot publicly on polling day last month.

Following the acceptance of his apology, the PTI announced that Imran Khan will take oath as Prime Minister on August 18.

Khan had cast his vote on July 25 at a polling station in one of Islamabad's constituencies where he defeated former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. TV footage showed Khan, accompanied by his friends and supporters, publicly stamping his ballot paper on the presiding officer's table, forcing the ECP to take action against him.

In a 3-1 vote, the ECP bench accepted Khan's apology. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza disagreed with the ECP's members from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 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 commission also ordered issuance of notification for Imran's victory in NA-53 Islamabad constituency, which had been withheld due to Khan's violation of electoral code of conduct.

In his written reply, Khan said that he values the ECP as well as the electoral rules and stated that on July 25, he entered an overcrowded polling station, without any companions, to cast his vote.

"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 that he had contested from in the polls. He has announced to retain the seat that he had won from his hometown of Mianwali on the banks of River Indus.

President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned a session of the National Assembly on August 13 during which newly-elected members will take oath of their office. Elections for the speaker, deputy speaker and the leader of the House will take place after the MNAs-elect take oath.
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