Saturday April 20, 2024

SHC tells ECP to resolve Karachi’s NA, PA poll results issue

By Jamal Khurshid
February 14, 2024

The Sindh High Court on Tuesday ordered that the issue regarding the consolidation of the national and provincial assemblies’ election results of Karachi and the discrepancies, if any, in Form 45 and Form 47 either made in the presence or the absence of the petitioner or their representatives be resolved by the Election Commission of Pakistan after scrutiny of the relevant record.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) building can be seen in this picture. — SHC website/File
The Sindh High Court (SHC) building can be seen in this picture. — SHC website/File 

Disposing of petitions filed by independent candidates backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), as well as candidates of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPPP) against the consolidated of election results of 20 NA and 29 PA seats compiled by the ROs, the court directed the ECP to make decisions in terms of articles 218 and 224 of the constitution after complying with all relevant provisions of Election Act and its rules.

The PTI, the JI and the PPPP have challenged the election results of NA-231, NA-232 NA-233, NA-234, NA-235, NA-236, NA-237, NA-238, NA-239, NA-240, NA-241, NA-242, NA-243, NA-244, NA-245, NA-246, NA-247, NA-248, NA-249 and NA-250.

They have also challenged the provincial assemblies’ election results of PS-62 Hyderabad, PS-90, PS-95, PS-129, PS-101, PS-106, PS-128, PS-122, PS-126, PS-97, PS-117, PS-111, PS-125, PS-124, PS-104, PS-123, PS-98, PS-103, PS-41, PS-120, PS-121, PS-116, PS-117, PS-108, PS-94, PS-118, PS-100, PS-99 and PS-113.

A high court division bench, headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, heard the arguments of the counsel of the petitioners and the respondents as well as the ECP.

The court observed that after perusal of the statement along with comments of the ECP, an alternative remedy is available to the petitioners under sections 8 and 9 along with other relevant provisions of the Election Act.

It further said that all petitioners have a common grievance to the effect that there has been a violation of provisions of sections 92 and 95 of the Election Act while preparing consolidated results in the shape of Form 47 issued by the returning officers and these forms do not tally with the results in the shape of Form 45 issued by the presiding officers of the polling stations.

The court observed that such a grievance shall be considered as complaints in terms of sections 8 and 9 of the Election Act before the ECP, which shall decide such complaints after hearing all the necessary parties expeditiously before the cut-off date for issuance of a gazette notification on February 22 through the speaking order.

The SHC said that in case of any further grievance the aggrieved parties will be at liberty to seek their remedy as available to them under the Election Act by approaching the relevant forum, including the tribunal, constituted for such purposes in accordance with the law.

The PTI, JI and PPPP candidates had claimed that the election results of the national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies in the city had been manipulated on Form 47 despite their having obtained the highest number of votes according to Form 45.

The petitioners’ counsel said that the results of almost all the national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies in the city as reflected on Form 45, duly attested by the presiding officers, do not tally with the provisional results as reflected on Form 47, issued by the ROs.

The counsel said that while the ROs were preparing the provisional consolidated results, the candidates and their polling agents were neither given notice nor called at the time of preparing the provisional results, claiming that there had been serious manipulation in the results.

The counsel for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the federal and provincial law officers objected to the maintainability of the petitions on the grounds that an alternative remedy is available under the Elections Act, 2017.

They also said that the disputed facts as agitated through the instant petitions require inquiry and evidence, an exercise which cannot be undertaken under Article 199 of the constitution. They said the ECP is competent under the law to decide all disputes relating to elections, so all the petitions are misconceived and not maintainable.