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ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate from NA-75 (Daska) Sialkot on Friday approached Supreme Court, requesting it to set aside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order to hold fresh elections in NA-75 (Daska) Sialkot.

PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi filed an appeal against the ECP under Section 9 (5) of Election Act, 2017, saying the top electoral body’s order with regard to re-polling in the entire NA-75 (Daska) Sialkot, should be set aside.

On March 01, the ECP had ordered re-polling in the entire NA-75 Sialkot-IV which will take place on March 18, 2021.

Asjad had contested election against Syeda Nosheen Iftikhar, a candidate of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Nosheen had filed an application regarding 23 polling stations complaining unnecessary delay in communication of result of those polling stations had occurred causing doubt as to the result qua those 23 polling stations.

In his petition, the PTI candidate said the impugned short order is clearly contrary to law and facts of the case. It has been rendered in complete oblivion of the fact and circumstances of the case. It is, thus, manifestly unjust and illegal and therefore liable to be set-aside.

He said it was not legal on part of ECP to decide the matter pending before it through a short order having drastic results. He took the plea that it is beyond comprehension as to why the ECP was in such a state of urgency that it had to resort to passing a short order, which is of course without any reasoning, in complete and utter derogation of all the settled principles of law.

The provisions of Section 9 of the Election Act, 2017 have been blatantly violated by the ECP, while rendering the impugned order in as much as no basis for the alleged ‘satisfaction of the Election Commission’ that the election was marred by such grave illegalities which had materially affected the result of the entire constituency is discernible.

In view of the provisions of Section 9 (4) of the Election Act, 2017 it was obligatory on the ECP to have at least sought a reply form the appellant before proceedings to pass a final order in the matter? The ECP having itself heard the case in respect of 23 missing polling stations could not lawfully enlarge the scope of the case so as to order a re-poll in the entire constituency.

The impugned order is palpably incompetent and being not sustainable under the law.

The complainant only had complained about the commission of illegality and irregularity to extent of 23 polling stations. It was a fit case to direct the re-poll at 14 polling stations instead of declaring the whole election as a void.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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