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May 29, 2013

ECP told to decide MQM plea against rigging in PS-114


May 29, 2013

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to decide an application of a Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s candidate against rigging in the provincial assembly constituency PS-114 Karachi.
Rauf Siddiqui alleged in the petition that one of his rival candidates, Irfanullah Khan Marwat of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, made the entire polling staff of the constituency hostage and rigged the election.
His counsel, Farogh Naseem, submitted that grave irregularities and violations of the provisions of the election laws had been committed, resulting in Marwat being declared as returned candidate.
He said the petitioner also filed an application under Section 103-AA of the Representation of People Act 1976, which was still pending before the Election Commission of Pakistan.
He prayed to court to order re-polling in the constituency and restrained the respondent from taking oath as a member of the provincial assembly.
A division bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, observed that under Section 103-AA of the Representation of People Act 1976 the election commission had powers to decide all the disputes even after the candidate had been notified as winner or had taken oath.
Disposing of the petition, the bench directed the ECP to decide the application, notwithstanding the notification of the PML-N candidate as winner and his having taken other as member of the assembly.

Vote recount in NA-217
The same bench ordered the returning officer to comply with an ECP direction to recount votes for National Assembly constituency NA-217.
Syed Javed Ali Shah Jilani of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians submitted that the ECP had ordered a vote recount for a polling station of NA-217 but the returning officer did not do so under the misconception that the representative of the petitioner was not satisfied with the attitude of the returning officer.
He submitted that there was no such

apprehension and the returning officer may carry out the process.
According to unofficial results, the petitioner obtained 71,916 votes, and his rival candidate Syed Kazim Ali Shah of the PML-F secured 75,862 votes.
The bench observed that if the ECP direction for a vote recount was yet to be complied with, it should be complied with. It further observed that the petitioner or his representative should be also present before the returning officer for that purpose.
Application dismissed
The SHC dismissed an application of Syed Amir Haider Sherazi seeking vacation of a stay order against the announcement of his notification as winner from PS-85 Thatta.
The court had restrained the ECP from announcing the official result of PS-85 Thatta on a plea of a PPP candidate, who sought an injunction against the announcement of the result.
Former provincial culture minister Sassui Palejo submitted that she challenged the election result over rigging by rival candidate Syed Amir Haider Sherazi and delayed polling by the presiding officers. She sought an inquiry into the matter.
Sherazi’s counsel submitted that the assembly’s first session was scheduled to be held on May 29 and due to the restraining order the respondent would be deprived of his right to perform his constitutional obligation and that it would be tantamount to disfranchising him as well as the people of the constituency.
He said the election of women and reserved seats for minorities would also be jeopardised due to the stay order.
A division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, observed that the matter was already fixed on May 31 and the urgent application could not be heard two days before the hearing, and dismissed the application.

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