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Tuesday July 23, 2024

SHC stays election tribunal’s NA-231 vote recount order till June 13

By Our Correspondent
June 11, 2024
The Sindh High Court building in Karachi. — Facebook/The High Court of Sindh, Karachi/File
The Sindh High Court building in Karachi. — Facebook/The High Court of Sindh, Karachi/File 

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the Provincial Election Commission (PEC) to not commence the process of recount, which was earlier ordered by an election tribunal, with regard to four polling stations of a National Assembly constituency, NA-231 Malir, till June 13.

The high court, however, directed the PEC to ensure that there was no tampering or interference in the record of the polling material in respect of polling stations.

The direction came on a petition of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Abdul Hakeem Baloch who sought an injunction against the election tribunal order which ordered recount of votes of four polling stations in NA-231.

The tribunal had earlier ordered recounting of all ballots cast at four polling stations of NA-231 Malir on an election petition of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed candidate Khalid Mehmood Ali in which he challenged election results of the constituency.

A counsel for the PPP MNA submitted that the election tribunal had passed its order without providing opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and the impugned order was passed in violation of the principles of natural justice. A counsel for the PTI submitted that the petition was not maintainable as the order had provision for filing objections to the results of recount and reconsolidation whereas the petitioner had objected to the direction of recounting.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi issued pre-admission notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan and a federal law officer and in the meantime, directed the PEC to not commence the process of recount till the next hearing.

The high court clarified that the petitioner’s counsel shall appear before it after preparations to satisfy the court on the maintainability of the petition. The bench observed that in case the petitioner’s counsel did not proceed on the next hearing, the interim order shall stand vacated.

The SHC ordered that the PEC shall ensure that there was no tampering or interference in the record and polling material in respect of the four polling stations that are the subject matter of the petition.