ISLAMABAD: (Web Desk) Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday has announced to hold fact finding inquiry into a case pertaining to missing presiding officers during National Assembly (NA) constituency NA-75 Dask by-polls.
During the proceedings, the commission has appointed provincial joint election commissioner Punjab Saeed Gul as inquiry officer.
Earlier, Supreme Court (SC) had rejected the plea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and upheld the decision of ECP regarding re-election in entire NA-75 Daska.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial, heard the petition of PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi, challenging the ECP order of re-election in NA-75 Daska.
While announcing the reserved judgment, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the situation was not under control in the constituency on the day of polling.
On March 10, 2021, SC had rejected PTI’s plea seeking suspension of ECP decision regarding re-polling in NA-75 Daska.
The commission had submitted a report comprising map of the constituency and other important details in the court. It was mentioned in the report that on the day of by-polls, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) had called chief secretary numerous times but he didn’t respond.
Firing incidents took place at 38 polling stations while 54 polling stations experienced 35 percent low turnout, the report stated.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that detailed decision of ECP and reply were of great importance. The commission had ordered re-polls in NA-75 due to violation of law, he added.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked, “The court won’t suspend ECP’s order regarding re-elections in Daska however, we need decide whether the polling will be conducted in entire constituency or in few areas.” It’s like the commission had changed the date of the polling because of this case, he added.
ECP had submitted a reply in SC, declaring Punjab government responsible for mismanagement during by-elections in NA-75 Daska. The commission had told the apex court that the polls were made controversial by deploying selected officers in the area.
PTI lawyer advocate Mohammad Shahzad Shaukat said that PML-N had raised objections over 23 polling stations. The returning officer said that no concerns were recorded on the results of 340 polling stations, he added.
Shahzad Shaukat adopted the stance that the commission had exceeded from its authority by ordering re-poll in NA-75 Daska.
In February 2021, the ECP had nullified by-election in NA-75 Daska and ordered to conduct re-polling in the entire constituency. The commission had first decided to hold elections on March 18 however, later, it announced a new date of April 10.
Announcing the reserved verdict, CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja had declared that the by-poll in the constituency was not fair and transparent. Law and order situation was disrupted while an environment of fear was also created among the locals, he added.
It is to be mentioned here that the returning officer in NA-75 Daska had withheld the by-poll results in NA-75 Daska due to violence and alleged vote fraud.
According to the unofficial results of 337 polling stations, PML-N candidate Nosheen Iftikhar (97,588 votes) was leading Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ali Asjad Malhi (94,541 votes). However, results of 23 polling stations were delayed.
The returning officer had expressed doubts over the results of 20 polling stations in the preliminary report.