SC upholds ECP’s decision to hold re-election in PB-9 Kohlu

A three-member bench of the apex court dismissed a petition of Nawab Changez Khan Marri of the PMLN against re-polling in PB-9 Kohlu

By Sohail Khan
April 23, 2024
Motorists drive past Pakistan's Supreme Court in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to hold re-elections at four polling stations of Balochistan Assembly constituency PB-9 Kohlu and ordered the electoral body to hold the elections scheduled for April 24.


A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan and comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi dismissed a petition of Nawab Changez Khan Marri of the PMLN against re-polling in PB-9 Kohlu. The court directed the commission to hold the elections as per schedule on April 24 and held that the electoral body had decided re-polling at these four polling stations on the basis of unnatural votes cast during the polls.

During the course of hearing, the counsel for the petitioner, Nawab Changez Khan Marri, submitted that the election could not be held at seven polling stations on February 8, adding that on February 16 when polling was held again at seven polling stations, three polling stations were attacked by terrorists. After the polling, the commission issued a notification of the victory of Changez on February 28, but on March 12, on the request of the opposing candidate, Mir Naseebullah Khan of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), it was decided to hold re-poll in four polling stations, but no reason was given for re-polling.

At this, Justice Rizvi observed that the commission had given the reasons that there was an unnatural turnout. He said in these areas, women rarely go to cast their votes, but here the votes were cast from 85 to 95 per cent. Whether 85 per cent votes were also cast at other polling stations, the judge asked and inquired about Form 45, bearing the signature of polling agents.

The counsel for the petitioner told the court that they did not get Form 45, adding that the commission uploaded Form 45 on the website for a few hours and then removed it.

Justice Rizvi said the relevant polling stations were the home ground of the petitioner and re-election was taking place in these polling stations. During the hearing, Kamran Murtaza, counsel for Mir Naseebullah Khan, told the court that the election commission had ordered re-polling at seven polling stations, adding that elections were held at three polling stations and now re-elections were to be held at only four polling stations.

Meanwhile, the ECP counsel submitted before the court that elections would be held at four polling stations on April 24 for which ballot papers had been printed. He said the court decisions were in the field whereby it was held that re-polling could take place in view of unnatural turnout. He contended that the election commission ordered re-election, taking into consideration all the facts, adding that opportunity was given to both the parties to contest the election.

Meanwhile, the additional attorney general, while assisting the court on legal points, cited the Supreme Court’s ruling given on unnatural turnout in 2023 in the judgment of Ali Asjad Malhi’s case. Later, the court dismissed the petition of Changez and upheld the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s to hold re-polling at the four polling stations on April 24.