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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has dismissed PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s petition that alleged foul play in a National Assembly’s seat in Mansehra which he lost to a PTI-backed candidate in the recent general elections.

In the hearing of the case on Thursday, the returning officer of NA-15 Mansehra submitted his report to the ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

The RO report stated that the result of the entire NA-15 constituency was correct, in accordance with Forms 45.

On the other hand, Sharif’s counsel, who had challenged the result of NA-15 in the ECP on behalf of the former prime minister, did not show up at the hearing.

The ECP bench dismissed the case, rejecting the prosecution side’s application to hold the notification of the returned candidate of NA-15.

After the petition was dismissed, the defence lawyer showed up at the hearing with the request not to reject the petition. The bench was of the view that the petitioner could file another petition if they had any reservations on the rejection of this petition.

Independent candidate backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shahzada Gustasip bagged 105,249 votes, defeating Sharif, who received 80,382 votes in NA-15 Mansehra in February 8 general elections. Sharif moved ECP, challenging the NA-15 results.

On the night of February 8, the candidates backed by PTI were leading the poll charts with heavy margins against their respective electoral rivals in different constituencies across the country when the Election Management System (EMS) suddenly broke down under suspicious circumstances. Several hours later, when the EMS was restored, these candidates lost the polls mainly to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) candidates, as per the ECP’s results.

The ECP linked the delay in election results to the unavailability of mobile and internet services. But, the Commission failed to explain the reasons behind the sudden collapse of the EMS.

Prior to this, the same day, the CEC had told the media that the blockade of cellular and internet services would not affect results transmission through EMS.

Since then, the Commission is under fire from public and political circles as well as international stakeholders over allegedly massive rigging in the recent general polls. The electoral body has rejected these allegations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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