All political parties sans PPP boycott 249 by-election recount

Miftah lists flaws in recounting process: Mandokhel says no need of Forms 45, 46 provision

By: News Desk      Published: 11:17 AM, 6 May, 2021
NA-249 by-election
Miftah Ismail talks to newsmen in Karachi.

All political parties except the PPP have boycotted the NA-249 by-election recount ordered by the Election Commission of Pakistan on the request of runner-up PML-N, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Serzameen Party have boycotted the recount process with the PTI clamoring for holding fresh by-election in the constituency. 

However, the election officials went ahead with the recounting of votes despite the boycott announcement by major political parties including runner-up PML-N, PTI, MQM and PSP. 

So far recounting of votes of 10 polling stations in Karachi constituency have been completed. Six votes of PPP candidate Qadir Khan Mandokhel were rejected. While PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail’s two votes were rejected. 

The recounting process is continued without any suspension.

The by-polls in NA-249 were held on April 29. But all the parties except the winner PPP cried foul when the results were stopped pouring in for quite a while raising fear among political parties of possible rigging. 

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The PML-N candidate Miftah Ismael filed an application with the election commission seeking recount and pointing out that there was a difference in the total votes enlisted in Form 45 and Form 47. He also sought a forensic audit of Form 45 with Whatsapp/RTS. The ECP accepted Miftah’s application and ordered a recount on May 6. 

Reacting to the recounting process, Miftah told media persons that the returning officer neither provided them Form 46 nor allowed to inspect the unused ballots. He questioned how counting could be done without Form 46. He said they still had not been provided with Form 45 and Form 46. 

He told the media persons that the returning officer refused to give them Form 46 saying it was illegal if he did so. He said the election staff did not put their signatures on the form. The sacks which were holding ballots were not sealed. Miftah said when they pointed to this anomaly, the electoral staff said the seal must have fallen off somewhere. He lamented at their carefree attitude. 

He said it was not only the PML-N that wanted recount ‘all other parties including PTI, MQM and PSP wanted vote recount. He said it did not matter if some party won one seat but ‘we say: give honor to the vote’. He said what’s wrong with the election staff if they did right counting. He said the whole process was a farce if we were not provided with Form 45 and Form 46. He said PPP was not telling him anything, it was RO who was saying that he could not give us Forms 45 and 46. 

The PML-N leader said ‘people vote for their candidates and we are fighting for people’s right’. He said he has now again moved an application in the ECP about what happened during the recount process.

PTI’s candidate Amjad Afridi said that PTI was joining the boycott litany because the electoral staff had made the process contentious. 

The by-poll winner, PPP’s Qadir Khan Mandokhel termed the PTI and PML-N boycott tactic, a joke with the ECP. He said the ECP accepted the PML-N request for vote recount but it didn’t allow them to boycott the recount process when they apprehend that they could lose in the recount. He said defeat had become PML-N’s destiny. 

Mandokhel was of the opinion that there was no need for Form 46 once the recounting started. He claimed that vote sacks were sealed. He said if PML-N people were so expert in legal matters, they should bring their absconder leader back to Pakistan and fought his case. He said MQM was a terrorist party and PPP did not have any alliance with it. He rejected the repolling terming it out of question. He said election commission officials were saying they got orders from ‘high-ups’. He said RO had explained the process to everybody. But election commission was not following its own order, Mandokhel said adding he could see ECP’s shortsightedness in this affair. 

PTI seeks repoll 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf has submitted an application to the Election Commission of Pakistan seeking to annul 249-bypolls and demanded repoll.

The PTI contended since the elections were rigged that’s why they should be declared null and void and ECP should announce repolling. 

The lawyers of PTI’s NA-249 by-polls candidate Amjad Afridi submitted an application to the election commission for the annulment of the by-polls. It was alleged in the application that before the election, 17,000 votes were shifted to other cities and provincial government included 15,000 PPP voters in the constituency. It said Form 45 was already completed, people kept using mobile phones during the polling and votes were cast even without identity cards. 

It was also alleged that the administration brought favorite people from education department and appointed them as presiding officers. The PTI in its application said that PPP as a pre-poll rigging manouvre started development work in the constituency in order to win the seat and at so many polling stations the polling agents were not provided Form 45. 

The PTI lawyer Attiqur Rehman said the party did not want recount rather it wanted repoll. He alleged that the winner party committed pre- post- and during the poll rigging.

The Sindh government, Peoples Party and candidates were made party in the petition. 

Reporter Ibrahim Raja, Zeeshan Bhatti   

Reporters Ibrahim Raja and Zeeshan Bhatti