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PPP to become part of NA-249 vote recount process today

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has announced that they have accepted the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to recount the votes of the NA-249 by-poll held in Karachi on April 29.

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani said that they would become a part of the vote recount process that is going to take place on Thursday (today).

Ghani, who is also the PPP’s Karachi president, said that they would not challenge the decision of the ECP to recount the votes in any court. He suspected that there were certain forces behind the decision taken in Islamabad to recount the votes without any solid evidence or proof to order such a move.

He recalled that the returning officer of the National Assembly constituency had earlier rejected the application for a recount filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s candidate. The minister said that the application was rejected on the grounds that neither were any relevant documents attached with it nor had it identified a single polling station where the alleged irregularity had taken place on the day of the by-election.

He said that the consolidation of the counted votes had also been stopped on May 1 without any valid cause. He suspected that the returning officers had been stopped from Islamabad from consolidating the counted votes because a recount could not take place after the consolidation of votes.

He recalled that in the 2018 general elections there had been dozens of constituencies where the PPP’s candidates had been defeated by a narrow margin of votes, and that in all such cases the number of the rejected votes had been much higher (compared to the rejected votes in the NA-249 by-poll).

However, he said, the PPP’s application for a recount had been rejected in all these constituencies. He cited the examples of the PS-21, PS-41 and NA-237 constituencies, where the PPP’s candidates had been defeated with a margin of a few hundred votes in the last general elections.

The minister said that the consolidation of the counted votes in all these constituencies had been completed instantly so that the application for a recount of votes got automatically rejected.

He recalled the recent statement of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that after the latest decision of the ECP, a recount could also be held in all such constituencies where the PPP’s candidates had lost in the 2018 general elections with a thin margin of votes.