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February 29, 2008
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PHC stays notification of 2 NA, 4 PA seat results

February 29, 2008

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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday restrained the Election Commission from notifying results of two National Assembly and four NWFP Assembly constituencies.

A division bench of the PHC comprising Justice Hamid Farooq Durrani and Justice Shahji Rehman Khan stayed announcement of official results of NA-3 (Peshawar-III), NA-31 (Shangla), PF-42 (Hangu-I), PF-87 (Shangla-I), PF-88 (Shangla-II) and PF-95 (Dir Lower-II) constituencies. The court fixed March 3 as next date for hearing in the case

The also-ran in NA-3, Hashim Babar of the Awami National Party (ANP), had moved the PHC seeking recounting of the votes. Noor Alam Khan of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the seat by bagging 26,919 votes against 26,089 ballots of Babar in the February 18 election.

Likewise, the court stayed announcement of official result of NA-31, where former federal minister Amir Muqam had won the seat by obtaining 26,928 votes. A losing candidate from the constituency, Dr Afsarul Mulk moved the court against the winner, saying around 30 ballot boxes were burnt on the polling day.

Similarly, the court issued the same orders for PF-87 and PF-88, which fall in NA-31. Hamid Iqbal, a candidate from PF-87, and Sher Alam and Sher Alam from PF-88 had moved the court with the plea that ballot boxes of 30 polling stations had been set ablaze. The bench adjourned hearing in all the three identical petitions for March 4.

Taking up petition of MNA-elect from NA-25, Maulana Attaur Rahman, the court ordered stopping of vote recounting in the constituency. Maulana Attaur Rahman had moved the PHC, expressing his distrust in the concerned returning officer. He said the returning officer had ordered recounting of votes in the constituency but the process was unnecessarily being delayed.

In another case, the court ordered continuation of stay order till March 7 in a petition filed by MNA-elect from NA-41 (Tribal Areas-VI), Maulana Abdul Malik.

The same bench had stayed results of re-polling at two polling stations in the constituency on February 25.

During previous hearing in the case, the petitioner’s counsel, Kamran Murtaza, had argued that re-polling at two polling stations was being held on orders of the Election Commission. “But the power in this regard rests with the election tribunal,” he said.

Hearing another case, the PHC stayed announcement of official results of PF-42 (Hangu) constituency. The court was taking up the petition filed by an independent candidate from the constituency, Syed Hussain Ali Shah Al-Hussaini, who claimed he had emerged triumphant at all the polling stations except two.

“At around 4:40 p.m. on the polling day, armed people occupied polling stations No 80, 81 and 82 and got the desired results by counting rejected votes in favour of the winning candidate, Attiqur Rahman of Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao,” he said.

Hussain Ali made two requests in his petition — recounting of ballots at the said polling stations and staying declaration of official results — which the court accepted and adjourned hearing for March 5.

The Election Commission was also restrained from issuing official results of PF-95, where a contestant Shamsul Qamar had died on the polling day. PPP ticket-holder Rahmatullah moved the court, stating that the balloting process should have been deferred in the constituency due to the death of a contender. The bench announced to hold further hearing in the case on March 5.

The bench, however, denied stay to runner-up in PF-2, Haji Muhammad Iqbal, who prayed the court to direct the Election Commission to avoid announcing result till final verdict in the case. But the court turned down his appeal and adjourned hearing in the case for March 5. Iqbal contended that MPA-elect Bashir Bilour and his wife were loan defaulters and under the election laws Bilour was not qualified to contest polls.

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