Govt, opposition to have equal representation in parliamentary body to probe poll rigging charges

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Tuesday that a "transparent" parliamentary committee will be formed to probe charges of rigging in the July 25 elections on the opposition’s demand.

Speaking during a session of the National Assembly that is currently underway, the minister revealed that the probe body will have equal representation from the government and the opposition.

The committee will be headed by a lawmaker belonging to the government, while no members of the Senate will be its members.

Qureshi had earlier announced that the probe committee will have proportionate representation from the treasury and opposition benches; however, the government agreed to equal representation from either sides after talks with opposition leaders.

The parliamentary committee will prepare the terms of reference (ToR) to investigate the charges of rigging in the July 25 elections, Qureshi said, adding that the body will be "empowered".

In response to PPP lawmaker Shazia Marri's demand that the committee be led by an opposition member, Qureshi said such committees are usually headed by the government and previously a similar committee was led by former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Shahbaz welcomes govt decision to form commission to probe rigging allegations

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif welcomed Qureshi's announcement to form a commission to probe allegations of rigging.

"It's a good thing that a commission is being formed on my demand," he said and added: "Now the TORs will be decided and a time frame will be set for investigation."

He further said that forming the commission will save the house's time.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also accepted the announcement and warned that the opposition will not let the government "whitewash the matter".



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