ECP orders re-election in NA-75 Daska on March 18

CEC says voting was not free, fair as firing spoiled atmosphere: Maryam says Daskans won their right back: Shibli says proud of independent institutions

By: News Desk      Published: 03:33 PM, 25 Feb, 2021
ECP orders re-election in NA-75 Daska on March 18

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared as null and void the outcome of the by-election in NA-75 Daska and ordered re-election in the entire constituency, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Accepting the PML-N’s request for repolling, the ECP said the re-election in NA-75 Daska will now be held on March 18.

Announcing its decision which was reserved earlier on Thursday, the Election Commission said after examining all the evidence and statements it concluded that the by-election in NA-75 was not free, fair and transparent.

The ECP also cited reports of clashes and violence in ordering re-election in all the polling stations of NA-75.

Announcing the verdict, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja stated that the ECP decision was made under Section 9 of the Election Act.

He said firing spoiled the whole atmosphere during the polling in the by-election, adding it also intimidated and scared the voters, who were not allowed to use their right to vote freely.

Daskans get their right back: Maryam

Reacting to the ECP decision, a jubilant PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz roared that the people of Daska got their right to vote back.

In a couple of tweets, Maryam said “The verdict is a certificate to vote thief and fake Sadiq and Ameen (a clear reference to Prime Minister Imran Khan). Vote thief also turned out to be an abductor.” 

She said “The whole country is now listening to the Nawaz Sharif’s narrative of ‘Respect the Vote’. Hats off to the people of Daska for guarding their votes and also nabbing the votes thieves red-handed.”

PML-N over the moon

Welcoming the ECP verdict, PML-N senior leader Muhammad Zubair said that the justice has not yet been done as far as the rigging in the Daska by-election was concerned. “The responsible persons should be punished.”

Zubair said the ECP verdict will be written in the history with golden words.

He said “We have yet to see where these presiding officers go after leaving their offices on election day.”

On this occasion, PML-N candidate in NA-75 by-election Syeda Nosheen Iftikhar while congratulating the people of Daska on the good news from the ECP termed the ruling historic which will set an example.

PTI mulling legal option

Addressing the newsmen outside the ECP office, Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the PTI’s legal team will review the detailed verdict and will then decide about taking legal action in this regard.

The minister said “It has now become clear that the institutions are working independently. We have succeeded in defeating the mindset which manipulates them by appointing their own people.”

Shibli Faraz said they were proud of the independent institutions.

Nosheen Iftikhar’s affidavit

In her affidavit and written reply submitted to the ECP on Thursday morning, PML-N candidate Nosheen Iftikhar said that police officer Zulfiqar Virk was not relieved of his security duties despite the ECP orders.

She said that the disappearance of 20 presiding officers was a shameful incident. 

She demanded that all those government officials who were ‘involved’ in electoral fraud not only be removed from their posts but also given exemplary punishment so that this could act as a deterrent in the future and the ECP could enforce its writ. 

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had met on Tuesday (February 23) to decide on the issue of the suspected tampering of results and the alleged disappearance of 20 presiding officers during by-polls in NA-75 Daska.

The commission is expected to decide in the light of the inquiry committee findings whether or not to announce the unconfirmed and unofficial results of NA-75.

Punjab Election Commissioner Ghulam Israr Khan on Monday had visited the offices of the district returning officer in Daska and inspected the election material. 

The by-poll held in NA-75 Daska on February 19 was marred by incidents of violence as two people lost their lives and scores were injured in clashes between the supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. 

This also led to the suspension of polling at some polling stations as Rangers were deployed to control the situation.

The voting, which started peacefully, was later marred by complaints of rigging attempts and irregularities creating hindrance in the way of polling.

Later, in the evening, 20 presiding officers mysteriously went missing along with the relevant record, casting doubts on the genuineness of the entire exercise, and leading to accusations by the PML-N leadership that the authorities had tampered with the election results.