The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to refrain from issuing any notifications concerning the election results from any constituency until the complaints challenging the results are resolved.
The order came during a hearing presided over by Chief Justice Sindh High Court, Justice Aqeel Ahmad Abbasi, in response to over 25 applications challenging the 2024 election results.
According to Express NewsBarrister Farogh Naseem, representing MQM-P, argued that the court needed to determine the suitability of these matters for litigation. The hearing addressed concerns raised by petitioners, including Barrister Salahuddin, who claimed that successful candidates, as per Form-45 results, were later ranked second or third.
Chief Justice Abbasi acknowledged the numerous applications and urged adherence to legal processes, suggesting that re-polling might be a viable option if complaints about Form-47 arose. He commended the peaceful conduct of the election and emphasised the importance of following the law without disrupting the electoral process.
MQM-P’s counsel contended that the petitions were not maintainable in court, while Barrister Salahuddin insisted that the Returning Officers (ROs) should verify all Form-45 results before announcing the final outcome.
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In response, Chief Justice Abbasi pointed out that the Election Act 2017 provides a procedure for addressing grievances, including the option of rerunning the entire election. Barrister Salahuddin argued that the ROs did not follow the election process, leading to rushed results.
The chief justice urged the ECP to address concerns and criticised their use of force against people, stating that such actions would force people to seek court intervention.
Barrister Salahuddin requested a temporary halt to result announcements, emphasising the need for Form-45 verification. The court directed the ECP to seek instructions from the Chief Election Commissioner on addressing candidates’ complaints, clarifying that it was not issuing a stay order at present.
Petitioner’s lawyer Haider Waheed Advocate shared concerns about discrepancies in Form-45, citing a previous election where 1,000 votes were allegedly converted to 100,000.
The court ordered the commission not to issue notifications until all complaints were resolved and adjourned further hearings until 11 am on Tuesday.