ECP withholds results of 26 seats over mounting rigging complaints

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday held back the announcement of the final results of 10 National Assembly and 16 provincial assembly constituencies due to a large number of rigging complaints.

The electoral watchdog also ordered re-polling at 53 polling stations of three constituencies on Feb 15.

The ECP took up dozens of petitions, challenging the election results of various national and provincial assembly constituencies. Simultaneously, several other petitions were also filed in different high courts, which would be taken up on Monday.

The ECP reserved a decision over a plea of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, seeking a restraining order over final notification on the NA-15 Mansehra-II election result.

A four-member bench of the ECP headed by the chief election commissioner heard the case.

The counsel of Nawaz Sharif said that Farm 45 of 125 polling stations of the NA-15, Mansehra constituency were not issued. Kala Dhakka area of the constituency has been very backward and means of communications have been disturbed due to snowfall in the area, Sharif’s counsel said.

The counsel alleged that presiding officers had pushed out polling agents “It is the election commission’s responsibility to ensure transparent election,” lawyer argued. “The elections were not transparent in NA-15,” Nawaz Sharif’s counsel claimed.

“The Farm 47 could not be issued without Farm 45,” he said. He pleaded for restraining final issuance of final notification of NA-15 result.

“Are you saying the election was not transparent,” ECP’s KPK member questioned. “The election in this constituency was not transparent,” lawyer said. According to unofficial results from all polling stations in the constituency, independent candidate Shahzada Gustasap Khan won the seat with 105,249 votes. Nawaz Sharif remained second with 80,382 votes.

While hearing the petitions, the ECP barred the returning officers concerned not to issue the notification of the success of any candidate from NA-15, Mansehra, NA-28, NA-49 and NA 50 in Attock, NA-55, Rawalpindi, NA-63 and NA-65 in Gujrat, and NA-47 and NA-48, Islamabad.

Similarly, after hearing the petitions, the ECP stopped the announcement of results of against the results of the Punjab Assembly’s constituencies of PP-73, PP-79, PP-80 and PP 82 and others. The results of PP-11, PP-20, PP-14, PP-16, PP-31, PP-33, and PP-59 have also been challenged.

Meanwhile, after objections from candidates and the matter being taken to the courts, the ECP halted the results of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s constituencies of PK-73, PK-79, PK-80, and PK-82. From Balochistan, the result of PB-1 had been challenged.

Moreover, the ECP withheld the results in NA-88 Khushab, PS-18 Ghotki-I, and PK-90 Kohat-I and directed re-polling at 53 polling stations in these constituencies. The results of these constituencies would be announced after re-polling on February 15, a spokesperson said.

In Sindh, Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said on Sunday that his party would challenge Karachi’s election results in the Sindh High Court on Monday. He added that he would also write a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa on the matter.

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