NA-75 Daska- Supreme Court rejected appeal of PTI candidate

 Supreme Court upheld the decision of Election Commission to repoll in the constituency

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the appeal of the PTI candidate against the decision of Election Commission of Pakistan  to repoll in 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 February 25, 2021, declaring the by-election at NA-75 Daska void and ordering re-polling in the whole constituency.

After the arguments were concluded by all the parties, Justice Umar Ata said the bench will announce the verdict after 10 minutes.

During the hearing, Justice Bandial agreed with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the law and order situation was bad in the constituency.

While announcing the reserved judgment on a case pertaining to re-polls in NA-75, the apex court stated that the voting will be conducted on April 10. The situation was not under control in the constituency on the day of polling, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked.

Previously, ECP had submitted an inquiry report regarding NA-75 Daska by-elections in SC as PML-N lawyer Salman Akram Raja completed his arguments.

ECP 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. 

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 has nullified the results of by election in February 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 the date of repoll on April 10.

Announcing the reserved verdict, Chief Election Commissioner (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.

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.

                                                  Khalid Bhatti 

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