Apex court again rejects PTI’s plea for suspending ECP Daska verdict

Salman Akram Raja, representing PML-N candidate in NA-75, contracts Covid-19

By: News Desk      Published: 12:28 PM, 19 Mar, 2021
Apex court again rejects PTI’s plea for suspending ECP Daska verdict

The Supreme Court on Friday again rejected a request from the ruling PTI’s candidate to suspend the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision of holding re-election in NA-75 Daska, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar also told the Supreme Court that since Salman Akram Raja, the counsel representing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate in NA-75, Daska, Nausheen Iftikhar, had contracted the coronavirus and that he had been asked to represent her in the case and he be given one day’s time to go through the case.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was hearing the petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order for a re-polling in the entire constituency.

The court is to decide whether re-election will be held in the entire constituency or in selected ones.  

Justice Bandial remarked that even counsel for the ECP had also contracted the coronavirus.  

Advocate Tarar suggested to the court that if it deemed fit, Salman Akram Raja could give his arguments via video link on Zoom. 

Shahzad Shaukat, counsel for the PTI, in his arguments, said that turnout in every by-election was less than that in general elections. 

When Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, one of the members on the bench, asked why did the voting remain suspended in the constituency?, the PTI lawyer dispelled the impression that anything such had happened, saying had this been the case the returning officer would have brought this to the knowledge of the DRO.  

Advocate Shaukat further said if the voters had kept waiting outside the polling stations, and were not allowed to vote, that would have been a different thing altogether. 

Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that voters could not keep waiting outside in queues since the authorities did not let them stay there for long. 

He further said some of the presiding officers had switched off their cellphones while others had disappeared. “And all those presiding officers who had disappeared returned early in the morning next day. Had they gone for a breakfast?” he inquired. 

Counsel for the PTI said that the ECP made the entire electoral exercise controversial on the basis of a role played by a DSP Zulfiqar Virk. 

When Justice Bandial reminded him that the DSP had been made in-charge security of the entire constituency, PTI counsel said that was not the case. “He had not been made the security in-charge there.”  

Reporter Amanat Gishkori