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Sunday April 21, 2024

SHC directs ECP to decide complaints against election results in accordance with law

The high court disposed of the petitions with a direction to the ECP to ensure that the complaints

By Jamal Khurshid
February 17, 2024
The Sindh High Court (SHC) can be seen in this image. — SHC website
The Sindh High Court (SHC) can be seen in this image. — SHC website 

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday disposed of petitions filed by the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates against results of the elections for the national and Sindh assemblies with a direction to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure that the complaints, if any filed by the petitioners for redress of grievances, were decided after providing opportunity of hearing to them in accordance with the law.

The petitioners Irfanullah Khan Marwat, Malik Arif Awan, Arshad Hussain, Mansoor Feroz and Fahad Shafiq had challenged the provisional results of the returning officers of PS-105 East, NA-246 Central, PS-94 Korangi, PS-95 Korangi and PS-97 East.

Marwat, who belongs to the GDA, had submitted in the petition that the election results of four polling stations were rigged by the rival candidate of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) Saeed Ghani and their results showed that 90 per cent votes were cast there. He submitted that the results of the polling stations of Chanesar Goth were rigged after bogus voting.

He had requested the high court to restrain the ECP from announcing the official results of PS-105 and order re-polling in four polling stations.

A PTI candidate had submitted that he obtained the highest 49,907 votes from NA-246 West as per the Form 45, but the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) candidate Aminul Haq who obtained 17,667 votes as per the Form 45 were declared the winner after manipulation in the consolidated results that increased the MQM-P candidate’s votes to 74,672.

A counsel for JI candidates submitted that they had secured highest votes from their respective constituencies which were reflected in the Form 45 however their majority votes were shown less in the consolidated Form 47 and the votes of rival candidates of the MQM-P and PPPP were shown to be the highest.

PML-N candidate Fahad Shafiq alleged rigging and bogus voting in different polling stations of PS-97.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi inquired the counsel about the alternate remedy available under the Sections 8 and 9 of the Elections Act 2017.

The petitioners’ counsel submitted that that they would not press the petitions if directions were issued to the ECP to decide their election complaints with regard to irregularities in consolidation of the results.

The high court disposed of the petitions with a direction to the ECP to ensure that the complaints, if any filed by the petitioners for redress of their grievances with regard to consolidation of the results and bogus voting, were decided after hearing them before the expiry of the statutory period in accordance with the law.

In another election matter, the high court restrained the ECP from announcing the final order on recount of votes of 10 polling stations of PS-115 Keamari till further orders.

PTI-backed candidate Shah Nawaz Jadoon had submitted that the ECP on February 13 directed the returning officer to recount votes of 10 polling stations of the constituency. He submitted that he had obtained highest 20,820 votes in the constituency against the rival PPPP candidate who begged 19,151 votes.

The SHC issued notices to the ECP and ordered the commission to not pass any final order on recounting if carried out on the application of the PPPP candidate till the next date of hearing.