Saturday July 13, 2024

Alleged polls rigging: PHC puts ECP, ROs on notice

By Amjad Safi
February 13, 2024

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Returning Officers (ROs) on the writ petitions of eight independent candidates belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the alleged manipulation of the election results.

A police official stands guard outside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in this photo. — APP/File
A police official stands guard outside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in this photo. — APP/File

A two-member bench comprising Justice Shakeel Ahmad and Justice Syed Arshad Ali heard the petitions and summoned the ROs on February 15.Eight PTI-backed independent candidates, including former deputy speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Mahmood Jan, erstwhile provincial ministers Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Kamran Bangash, former district nazim Muhammad Asim, former MPA Arbab Jehandad, Ali Zaman Advocate, Malik Shahab Advocate and former MNA Sajid Nawaz, had filed separate petitions against the alleged change in the election results.

The ECP, provincial Election Commissioner and ROs concerned were made respondents in the petitions filed through Ali Gohar Durrani, Sikandar Hayat Shah and Qazi Anwar.The petitions raised questions over the transparency of the election process.Mohsin Kamran appeared before the bench on behalf of the ECP.

The lawyers representing the petitioners said that the RO for PK-78 was not present at his office and he could not be contacted when the election result was being compiled.They said that their client was leading as per the results reflected in the Form-45, but the rival candidate was shown as the winner when Form-47 was issued.

Justice Shakeel Ahmad asked if Form-48 and 49 had been issued. The lawyer for the ECP said that Form-49 had been issued for most of the constituencies.Justice Arshad Ali said that the court could not suspend the Form-49 after it was issued.

The ECP lawyer said that as per Article 225 of the Constitution and Section 9 of the Election Act, the high court could not hear this type of petition, adding that the petitioners had

not submitted any application for recounting of the votes.

Justice Arshad Ali said that the court could not ask the election commission to recount the votes.The lawyers for the petitioner said that their clients wanted results as per the Form-45 not the recounting of the votes.They requested the court to stay the notification about the victory of the winning candidates.