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ISLAMABAD: Only a day after seeking the related reports in three days from the returning officers of two National Assembly seats from the Federal Capital — on the petitions moved by PTI-backed candidates — to stay the poll results’ issuance on the said two seats — the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Monday, notified the returned candidates on both seats.

Earlier on Sunday, the ECP issued notices to ROs of NA-47 and NA-48 on petitions moved by Shoaib Shaheen and Ali Bukhari, the respective candidates of the two seats backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Shaheen, in his respective petition, argued that according to the Forms 45 of NA-47, he was leading with 53,000 votes.

He requested that the poll result not be finalised on the basis of Form 47, as, according to him, the same was not in accordance with Form 45 received in original by his polling agents.

As per Form 47 issued by the RO of NA-47, the petitioner obtained 86,794 votes while his opponent, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) obtained 101,397 votes, and the RO declared him as winner.

Bukhari, in his petition stated that as per Forms 45 of NA-48, issued by the presiding officers of 257 out of 261 polling stations, the petitioner obtained 74,425 votes whereas Raja Khurram Shahzad (independent) obtained 30,345 votes. But as per Form 47 of NA-48 issued by the RO, the petitioner obtained 59,851 votes while his rival Raja Khurram obtained 69,699 votes, and the RO declared him as winner.

Both the petitioners requested the electoral body to direct the ROs not to consolidate results and issue the related notifications of the returned candidates. However, the ECP on Tuesday notified Chaudhry and Shahzad as returned candidates for the two seats.

When contacted, the ECP spokesperson did not give any response on the matter, till the filing of this report on Monday night.

Former Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, who contested the general elections from NA- 48 Islamabad as an independent candidate, alleged on social media that PTI-backed Ali Bukhari was the winner of NA-48 seat but poll results were rigged to “elevate a person who was not even in the electoral race.” Likewise, he said, PTI-backed Shoaib Shaheen won the NA-47 Islamabad seat with a heavy margin before the results were stopped.

“It is tantamount to worst poll rigging and playing with fire,” Khokhar wrote on X.

The ECP claimed that its Election Management System (EMS) was equipped with sophisticated features for the smooth transmission of general polls’ results. But, a recent letter by the RO of NA-197 Kamber-Shahdadkot to the district returning officer of the said seat raised serious questions about the efficiency and reliability of the EMS.

“Either the EMS is an utter failure or there is someone else that controls and manages the system behind the veil,” the RO wrote.

On Thursday, hours after the general elections, the PTI-backed candidates were leading the poll results with heavy margins in different constituencies across the country when the EMS suddenly broke down. Several hours later,

when the EMS was restored, these candidates lost the polls, as per the ECP’s results.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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