Waheeda Shah, the PPP candidate who famously subjected an assistant presiding officer and other Election Commission (EC) staff to her fists of fury during by-poll on a provincial assembly seat in Tando Muhammad Khan, recorded her statement before Returning Officer (RO) Murtaza Sial at the office of the provincial election commissioner.
The inquiry officer completed proceedings for a summary trial of the case against Shah, whose results were withheld after her assault on EC staff during polling. Many believe that Shah would be disqualified, although she could challenge the ECP’s decision before the superior judiciary. An official from the Election Commission revealed that an inquiry report would be presented on Tuesday and, subsequently, a final decision would be taken on the case.
The candidate and an election officer refused to speak to the eagerly-awaiting media, but Shah’s lawyer, Mustafa Safvi, said that his client informed the RO that she slapped the assistant presiding officer due to a ‘misunderstanding’. He added that Shah provided some ‘evidence’ while giving her statement.
The lawyer said that when the PPP candidate arrived at the polling station, she noticed some ‘irrelevant people’ there. He also claimed that the staff was not wearing their identity cards, which was a violation of the rules. Safvi maintained that his client had no intention of beating the polling staff and the incident took place “unintentionally and in view of the particular background”.
To a question, the advocate said Waheeda Shah did not apologise in her statement. However, he said the female election officers who bore the brunt of the candidate’s anger had already pardoned his client in their statements before the RO. Safvi said Ms Shah has decided to plead her case before all legal forums.
The Supreme Court has already taken suo moto notice of the incident. Shah was contesting for a seat of the provincial assembly that fell vacant after the death of her husband, Syed Mohsin Shah Bukhari.