ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed an Election Tribunal of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the presiding officers have not sent snapshots of the results to the returning officer due to non-availability of connectivity.

The election tribunal comprising IHC judge Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, on Wednesday, heard the petition of Shoaib Shaheen advocate challenging the election result of his constituency of NA-47.

The tribunal mentioned in its written order that as provided in Section 13 (2) of the Elections Act, 2017 the Presiding Officer shall immediately take a snapshot of the result of the count and, as soon as connectivity is available and it is practicable, send it electronically or through appropriate technologies to the Commission and the returning officer before sending the original documents under Section 90.

In this regard, the Additional Director General (Law), ECP submitted that “as on the election day the connectivity was not available, so Presiding Officers have not sent snapshots of the results to the Returning Officer as provided under Section 13(2) of the Elections Act, 2017 rather they provided the results physically to the Returning Officer.”

The counsel for Returning Officer also submitted that Presiding Officers have not communicated the results in shape of snapshots of the count when the connectivity was available rather the same were communicated to the Returning Officer physically.

The lawyer of MNA Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that written statement/reply in terms of Section 147 of the Elections Act, 2017 has been prepared along with affidavits of the witnesses/respondent No3 (Fazal) and Forms-45, 46 and 47 and the same will be filed. He further stated that in compliance of the order dated 08.07.2024, Rs20,000 has been deposited and the receipt of the cost will be placed on record along with written statement.

The RO counsel submitted that cost of Rs15,000 has been deposited in SOS Village, Islamabad in compliance of the order dated 29.05.2024, deposit receipt in this regard is placed on record today and further submits that written statement/reply in terms of Section 147 of the Elections Act, 2017 has been prepared along with affidavits and relevant documents and Forms-45, 46, 47, 48 and 49 and same will be filed today.

Then, Justice Jahangiri directed counsel for Tariq Fazal to file written statement/reply by fulfilling all formalities mentioned in Section 147 of the Elections Act, 2017 along with Forms-45, 46 and 47 and also place on record deposit receipt of the cost. He also directed the RO counsel to file written statement/reply by fulfilling all formalities mentioned in Section 147 of Elections Act, 2017 alongwith Forms-45, 46, 47, 48 and 49.

He directed the counsel for the RO to file the record regarding the time of uploading the Forms-45 on the Election Management System (EMS) in terms of Section 13(3) of the Elections Act, 2017.

The judge added that on the next date of hearing, the arguments on the preliminary objections taken by counsel for respondent No3/Returned Candidate as well as ECP and all the parties will be heard. The case was adjourned until July 15.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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