Thursday February 22, 2024

ECP withholds results of five constituencies

ECP stayed the release of election results for five constituencies

By Our Correspondent
February 13, 2024
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) signboard in Islamabad. — AFP/File
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) signboard in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday issued victory notifications for the returned candidates from Islamabad for the National Assembly constituencies.

Anjum Aqeel from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) was declared victorious from the NA-46 seat, while Tariq Fazal Chaudhry from the same party was notified as the Member of the National Assembly (MNA) from Islamabad for the NA-47 constituency. Likewise, Raja Khurram Nawaz, an independent candidate, was also declared the winner for the NA-48 seat.

Petitions have been filed, challenging the National Assembly constituencies’ results, including NA-55 Rawalpindi, NA-49 and NA-50 Attock, NA-65, NA-63, and NA-28. Additionally, the results of provincial assembly constituencies PP-11, PP-14, PP-16, PP-20, PP-31, PP-33, and PP-59 have also been challenged by the losing candidates.

Meanwhile, the ECP stayed the release of election results for five constituencies -- PB-14 Naseerabad, PB-44 Quetta, PP-33 Gujrat, PP-126 Jhang and PP-128 Jhang.

The ECP bench heard the petitions on the complaints regarding the election results. The election watchdog has set up four counters to guide and facilitate people and litigants coming to the ECP Secretariat for filing election petitions. A separate counter has been set up to receive applications from each province.

Hearing the petitions, ECP Sindh Member Nisar Ahmad Durrani said that the one who lost in the elections was celebrating and the one who wins is making allegations of rigging. He wondered for how long such behaviour will continue, as defeat and victory are the beauty of democracy.

The ECP special secretary said that the Returning Officers (ROs) have released the final results in most of the constituencies, stopping the results at this point would delay the next steps.

Meanwhile, by issuing a notification, the ECP has ordered re-polling at seven polling stations of NA-253 and PB-9 Kohlu, where polling could not be held due to poor law and order situation. Necessary instructions have been issued to the Balochistan chief secretary, IGP and other law enforcement agencies in this regard.

Separately, the commission withheld the final result of NA-106, Toba Tek Singh, and sought a report from the RO concerned, as senior PTI lawyer Babar Awan had requested the ECP bench to order re-counting in the constituency, citing electoral irregularities.

He contended, “I am not complaining to the Election Commission about what happened on February 9, the Election Commission has given severe punishments to the returning officers in the Daska case. It is not enough to stop the results alone, strict action should be taken against the RO who violated the oath.”

Babar Awan demanded re-counting of votes in NA-106 Toba Tek Singh constituency, upon which the ECP withheld the final results in NA-106 Toba Tek Singh and sought a report from the RO.

Meanwhile, former minister and senior leader of Isthekam-e-Pakistan Party Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan appeared before the ECP on video link, in which she was purportedly, slapping of a police officer during the elections.

Her lawyers were also present on the occasion in response to a notice, the commission had issued to her on the basis of reports by the DRO and poll monitoring officer.

Firdous Ashiq told the ECP that as a Pakistani, the candidate has the right to visit his/her polling station. She explained to have visited several polling stations during which she as well as others witnessed that the police were unable to control law-breakers and hooligans.

She said they pointed it out to a police officer standing at a polling station, and asked what was he doing? He did not respond, as several cops were playing silent spectators and others as facilitators. She said during such situations, things flare up.

To this, the ECP Punjab Member asked her whether the law gives her right to slap. She replied in negative and said she had apologised for that.

Her lawyers contended that unless, they were provided with the copy of the report, it would not be possible to file reply to the notice. Later, the ECP ordered Firdous to submit a reply by February 15 and ordered provision of related content to her.