ECP withholds result of NA-249 by-election

By: News Desk      Published: 03:26 PM, 1 May, 2021
ECP withholds result of NA-249 by-election
File photo.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (EC) has ordered a halt to the issuance of the NA-249 by-election result, saying it will do so after a recount of the votes, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The stay order was issued after the ECP admitted an application for recounting for a hearing, filed by PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail.

The ECP also stopped the issuance of the victory notification of PPP candidate Qadir Khan Mandokhel.

Earlier in the day, PML-N leader Miftah Ismail has written a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan accusing it of demonstrating a biased attitude during the by-poll of NA-249. 

Mr Ismail who contested the NA-249 by-poll as PML-N candidate and lost it accused the ECP of showing a prejudiced attitude by not entertaining returning officers’ complaints and rejecting pleas to declare NA-249 by-election disputed. 

PML-N leader Miftah Ismail wants a recount of the votes cast during the April 29 by-election in Karachi's NA-249 constituency, in which PPP had claimed a victory.

In his letter, Ismail sought the vote recount in NA-249. Meanwhile, the PML-N has requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct a forensic audit of the votes in the NA-249 constituency.

In his letter, Ismail wrote that presiding officers from 34 polling stations did not WhatsApp the results. "We did not receive results from more than 30 polling stations. We have serious concerns about the behaviour of some presiding officers," Ismail wrote, adding that many Form 45s were not signed. 

He said the returning officer is not following the law and not directing a recount of votes despite the minor difference in votes.

The PML-N candidate said that the counting of votes on Form 45 was different from the forms given to them by the RO. "We have not been provided Form 45 by the RO," he said.

He said in the letter that the RO did not provide the result summary according to the polling stations. He also said that the RO had not provided a receipt when asked when the WhatsApp results came in.

Ismail has asked the CEC to stop the ECP from finalising the results and recount votes in all polling stations of NA-249.

He also said that the RO has shown clear bias by rejecting all their requests as more than half of the Form 45s were not signed by the RO.

IHC issues detailed judgement in Miftah’s case

In another development, the Islamabad High Court has issued a detailed judgement in the pre-arrest bail case of Miftah Ismail in LNG reference.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Saturday released the detailed order. 

According to the IHC judgement, the National Accountability Bureau had failed to present any proof that could link Miftah to any criminal wrongdoing. It said NAB’s estimation regarding loss to the national exchequer was based on assumption. 

Miftah had been accused of committing wrongdoing in LNG Terminal 1 agreement and also in the recruitment of consultants. But, the judgement said, the agreement was finalized by the Government of Pakistan and consultants were provided by an American funding organization that was also responsible for their payments. 

The judgment said the anti-graft body had failed to explain how this matter had become culpable under the rules of NAB Ordinance. Under such circumstances there was no legal reason to put Miftah behind the bars, the detailed court order said adding that solid proofs are needed to keep someone in jail. 

Islamabad High Court had accepted Miftah’s pre-arrest bail on Dec 23, 2019 and released a short order.

The NAB had arrested MIftah in the LNG case on Aug 7, 2019. He was arrested when the IHC had rejected his pre-arrest bail application at that time. 

Reporter Zeeshan Ali Bhatti