ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan on Tuesday expressed his annoyance over the repeated changes being made in the ballot papers due to the high courts’ rulings and the monetary impact of the same.
He said this while heading a five-member bench during the hearing of a petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for the allotment of the party’s electoral symbol, tiger, to Maryam Nawaz’s covering candidates.
A similar petition was filed for NA-146 Pakpattan to Rana Zahid’s covering candidate, his son Rana Iradat after the former was disqualified from contesting polls from the constituency.
Following Maryam’s disqualification, Ali Pervaiz will be contesting the polls from the NA-127 constituency and Irfan Khokhar will represent PML-N from PP-173 constituency.
During the hearing, the PML-N lawyers presented their arguments and contended that Subsection 3 of Election Act 2017’s Clause 4 dictates that the covering candidate is allotted the party’s electoral symbol.
It was informed that the names of covering candidates were written on Form 33 and submitted to the ECP by Maryam.
The CEC further remarked that the repeated printing of ballot papers is an added expense on the commission.
“The printing of ballot papers commenced on July 1; watermarked ballot papers are very expensive. Why don’t the high courts consider the burden [of monetary expenditure] on the commission,” he stated.
“If a few similar rulings are announced, we will run out of ballot papers,” the CEC added.
The electoral body then reserved its verdict on the PML-N petition.
Later, the ECP-bench announced the verdict, accepting PML-N’s petition. The electoral body accepted PML-N’s request to review Form 33 from NA-127, PP-173, and NA-146.