The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) directed the returning officer (RO) on Sunday to not issue the final result for NA-15 Mansehra, after PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif challenged it.
A four-member bench headed by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja presided over the appeal, submitted by PML-N leader Captain (retd) Safdar on Nawaz’s behalf.
Nawaz’s counsel told the bench that they had not received Form 45 of 125 polling stations. He added that the presiding officer had expelled polling agents, reminding the commission that it was their responsibility to ensure transparency in elections.
“Kala Dhaka is an extremely underprivileged area and is covered in snow [during this time],” the counsel argued.
“Form 47 cannot be issued without Form 45,” he said. At this, Captain Safdar told the bench that “the RO is unconscious and hospitalized”.
Safdar maintained that Form 47 issued under such circumstances was invalid, and urged the ECP to stop the RO from issuing a final notification of the Mansehra elections.
The electoral watchdog initially reserved its verdict on the plea, but later announced it, ordering the RO to not issue final results just yet.
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Earlier, talking to the media after reaching the ECP offices, Captain Safdar said Form 47 issued by the RO was incorrect.
However, referring to arch-rival PTI’s complaints of ‘largescale election rigging’, Safdar said “those claiming results of 45 constituencies were changed also once alleged 35 punctures. Allegations don’t prove anything. Prove that results were changed,” the PML-N leader said.
Over a dozen petitions were filed in the high courts on Saturday, by several Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed candidates challenging the results of the February 8 elections in their respective constituencies, announced by the returning officers (ROs) concerned.
Most of the election petitions were filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC), while two PTI-backed candidates moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the results, and at least three petitions were filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC).
The petitions in the LHC challenged victories of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz; Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) President Aleem Khan in different constituencies in Lahore.