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ISLAMABAD: The electoral entity has reserved its verdict on a petition from three PML-N lawmakers for changing the election tribunal that hears the case involving alleged rigging on three National Assembly seats of Islamabad in the general elections that the N-Leaguers won.

During the case hearing on the second consecutive day, the defence side, Friday, questioned the legal authority of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to change the ET.

After the conclusion of arguments from both sides, the bench reserved its verdict.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ECP declared as maintainable a petition from Anjum Aqeel Khan, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Raja Khurram Nawaz for changing the ET that is hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) petition regarding alleged foul play on three NA seats, NA 46, 47 and 48, which Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) candidates won in February 8 general elections.

It merits mentioning here that Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri, who is the ET judge for three NA seats from the federal capital, is hearing the petition of PTI leaders regarding alleged rigging on three Islamabad NA seats in general elections.

On the night of February 8, when the results of the general polls were being announced, the PTI-backed candidates were leading the poll charts with heavy margins against their respective electoral rivals in different constituencies across the country when the ECP’s much-hyped Election Management System (EMS) suddenly broke down— and the poll body stopped the announcement of results. Several hours later, when the EMS was restored, the PTI-candidates lost the polls, as per the ECP results.

The ECP is since under fire from public and political circles, as well as, international stakeholders over allegedly massive rigging in the general polls. Several mainstream political parties and international observers have demanded a comprehensive audit of these elections. The ECP has rejected the poll rigging allegations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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