The Election commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced to hold re-election in PK-23 Shangla on September 10 after it suspended the election results on the basis of low women turnout in the general elections held on July 25.
Out of 69, 827 total votes polled on the election day, at least 3,505 women exercised their right to vote, which was 5 per cent of the total votes.
According to the Elections Act 2017, the election watchdog can declare an election null and void if women’s turnout in a constituency is less than 10 per cent of its total polled votes.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shaukat Ali Yousafzai was declared a winner from PK-23. However, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) nominee Muhammad Rishad Khan, who was the runners-up with a margin of fewer than 3,300 votes, had approached the ECP for re-election.
Yousafzai termed the ECP verdict cruel, saying that the commission should have ordered the re-polling of female voters only instead of declaring the whole election void. “It is not easy to hold elections in Shangla,” he claimed. “We will suffer due to the re-election in the constituency.”
The notification issued by the ECP stated that the candidates who contested the July 25 elections will be able to compete in the September 10 re-poll under the same party symbols.