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May 6, 2008

Result of NA seat still awaited


May 6, 2008

ISLAMABAD: The result of election to NA 25 Tank-Dera Ismail Khan where the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) candidate Habibullah Kundi contested against powerful coalition leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman's brother, Ataur Rehman, is still stuck up because of court litigation.

It is the only National Assembly constituency, contested on Feb 18, where the official announcement of the election result continues to be withheld. The matter has now reached the Supreme Court and will come up for hearing again on Tuesday. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and comprising Justice Ijaz Yousuf and Justice Ijazul Hassan will resume the hearing. Barrister Wasim Sajjad will represent Habibullah Kundi while Abdul Hafeez Pirzada will speak for Ata Rehman in the Supreme Court.

As the story goes, Habibullah Kundi was declared winner in the unofficial result of the seat. But officially the result was not declared. On Feb 20, Ata Rehman and another candidate approached the returning officer (RO) for recounting of ballots, which was ordered. Four days - Feb 23 to Feb 26 ñ were fixed for the purpose.

As the recounting was in progress and ballots of 181 out of 257 polling stations had been counted in the presence of media persons and agents of the contesting candidates, Ata Rehman approached the Peshawar High Court (PHC) complaining that he has no confidence in the RO. The PHC dismissed the application ruling that the recounting should be continued.

Ataur Rehman appealed against this decision in the Supreme Court, which ordered that the recounting should be continued, but said it would announce the election result. It is claimed that Habibullah Kundi has unofficially won by over 800 votes in the recounting.

Ataur Rehman was a member of the previous National Assembly while Kundi has been minister in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) more than once. In the Feb 18 elections, Maulana Fazlur Rehman lost his traditional Dera

Ismail Khan seat against Faisal Karim of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), who is now Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. PPP's Dawar Kundi, who also contested against Ataur Rehman from Tank-Dera Ismail Khan, is said to have grabbed the third position.

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