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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday barred returning officers (ROs) from issuing results on 10 National Assembly seats and 16 provincial assembly seats including NA-15 Mansehra from where Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif had lost the elections.

The National Assembly constituencies where the ECP directed the ROs not to issue the results include NA-46, NA-47, NA-48, NA-28, NA-49, NA-50, NA-55, NA-63, NA-65 and NA-15.

As many as sixteen provincial assemblies’ seats where the results were stopped by the ECP include PP-20, PP-14, PP-16, PP-31, PP-59, PP-33, PP-11, PP-01, PK-73, PK-79, PK-80, PK- 82, PB-1 and PP-59.

Delay in election results: ROs fail to meet ECP’s 30-minute deadline

PTI backed Taimoor Jhagra and Kamran Bangash had challenged the results from PK-79 and PK-82, respectively.

A four-member bench headed by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja presided over the appeal, submitted by Captain Safdar (retd) on Nawaz Sharif’s behalf over alleged rigging in NA-15 Mansehra.

The counsel for Sharif told the bench that they had not received Form 45 of 125 polling stations, adding the presiding officer had expelled polling agents, reminding the commission that it was their responsibility to ensure transparency in elections.

“Kala Dhaka is an extremely underprivileged area and is covered in snow in this season,” the counsel argued.

“Form 47 cannot be issued without Form 45,” he said.

At this, Captain Safdar told the bench that “the RO is unconscious and hospitalised”. He maintained that Form 47 issued under such circumstances was invalid, and urged the ECP to stop the RO from issuing a final notification of the Mansehra elections. The ECP initially reserved its verdict on the plea, but later announced it, ordering the RO not to issue the final results just yet.

Earlier, talking to the media after reaching the ECP offices, Captain Safdar said Form 47 issued by the RO was incorrect.

However, referring to arch-rival PTI’s complaints of ‘large scale election rigging’, Safdar said “those claiming results of 45 constituencies were changed also once alleged 35 punctures. Allegations don’t prove anything. Prove that results were changed,” the PML-N leader said.

Similarly, the ECP barred the RO from issuing the final notification for election results of NA-47 and NA-48 Islamabad after PTI-backed candidates Shoaib Shaheen and Ali Bukhari challenged the results.

The ECP also halted final results for PK-79 and PK-82, following challenges from Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Kamran Bangash – also PTI-backed candidates.

Meanwhile, objections were also raised for PK-73 and PK-80, leading the ECP to stop the ROs from announcing final results in these constituencies.

PTI’s Shaheen and Bukhari had filed petitions in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as well a day earlier.

A four-member bench presided by CEC Raja heard the allegations of manipulation in the NA-48 results.

Bukhari arrived at the ECP office accompanied by several lawyers. He provided the ECP with the record of Form 45 for all NA-48 polling stations, along with separate data from Form 45 in data devices.

He is seeking relief under Section 8 of the Election Act, asserting his success according to Form 45. The PTI-backed candidate has complained that the RO did not grant access to the final results before the official announcement.

According to Election Act sections 92 and 95, the presence of the candidate is deemed necessary at the time of the announcement of the final results. Therefore, Bukhari has requested a recount according to Form 45.

Bukhari told the ECP that despite their request, the RO issued Form 47. He emphasised that Form 45 was not exclusive to him but was available to all candidates.

The PTI candidate appealed that his significant lead of 50,000 votes was nullified. He requested for a re-count to be done in the presence of media representatives and other candidates.

Following the hearing, the ECP issued notices to Raja Khurram Nawaz, earlier announced as the successful candidate from NA-48.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Rashid khan Feb 18, 2024 02:40am
Please confrom na 16 reuslt
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