The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday dismissed a series of pleas as non-maintainable, challenging the victories of three-time premier Mian Nawaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, and others. The pleas requested the court to direct the relevant authorities to ensure the consolidation process of election results in their presence.
During the proceedings, Justice Ali Baqar Najafi remarked that he had already decided on petitions of this nature, adding that the relief being sought could not be granted through writ petitions. He further stated that the petitioners should approach the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Justice Najafi presided over multiple petitions, emphasising that the court cannot intervene in matters related to the election process, including the consolidation process. However, he clarified that if the petitioners’ grievances are not addressed by the ECP and election tribunals, they could approach the court.
In the case of NA-130, the petitioner’s counsel argued that PML-N’s Nawaz was declared the winning candidate, although Form 45 clearly showed the victory of Dr. Yasmeen Rashid, a PTI-backed independent candidate.
The petitioner, Ishtiaq Ahmed Samsialvi, an independent candidate contesting NA-130, claimed that he was expelled from the RO office, depriving him of the right to witness the process of election result consolidation. He and others were asked to leave the RO office when PTI’s backed candidate Dr. Yasmeen Rashid was winning the election. However, the following day, Form 47 was displayed, declaring Nawaz as the winning candidate. He requested the court to set aside Form 47 and direct the RO to conduct the consolidation process in his presence.
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Muhammad Khan Madni, another petitioner, argued that, according to Form PP-147, his client had won the provincial assembly seat. Still, PMLN’s candidate Hamza Shehbaz was declared the winning candidate, and he was deprived of the process of result consolidation.
In earlier proceedings on similar pleas, on February 12, Justice Najafi dismissed eighteen writ petitions as non-maintainable.
These were filed by runner-up PTI-backed independent candidates challenging the victory of PMLN’s contestants, including Maryam Nawaz Sharif and IPP’s Aleem Khan, Aun Chaudhary, and others. The petitions requested the courts to set aside Form-47 prepared by Returning Officers (ROs) in their absence, depriving them of the right to witness the consolidation process of the election results.
The LHC judge dismissed the PTI-backed candidates’ pleas against the victory of Maryam Nawaz, Khawaja Asif, Ata Ullah Tarar, and others, including IPP’s Aleem Khan and Aun Chaudhry. The PTI-backed candidates argued in their petitions that police officials, on the whims of ROs from different constituencies, forcefully restrained them from witnessing the process of result consolidation.
They deemed their eviction from the ROs’ offices a violation of the fair process of witnessing the election results culmination process. The petitioners requested the courts to set aside Form 47 prepared in their absence and further direct the ROs to conduct the consolidation process in the presence of the petitioners and their agents, as required under the Election Act 2017 and the Election Rules 2017.