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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan will take up a petition on Wednesday (today) filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) order to hold fresh elections in NA-75 Sialkot.

PTI leader Ali Asjad Malhi had filed an appeal against the top electoral body under Section 9 (5) of Election Act, 2017 and asked the apex court to set aside its order.

On March 01, the ECP ordered re-polling in the entire constituency (NA-75 Sialkot-IV) which is scheduled for March 18, 2021.

PTI's Asjad had contested election against Syeda Nosheen Iftikhar of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Nosheed had filed an application qua 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.

The impugned short order is clearly contrary to law and facts of the case. It has been rendered in complete oblivion of the facts and circumstances of the case. It is, thus, manifestly unjust and illegal and therefore liable to be set aside.

It was not legal on part of the Election Commission of Pakistan to decide the matter pending before it through a short order having drastic results.

It is beyond comprehension as to why the ECP was in such haste 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 from 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 the 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. The constituency has been put to second bye-election without any legal justification, Asjad Malhi contended.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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