Supreme Court orders halt to polling in NA-75 Daska on April 10
The Election Commission of Pakistan had ordered re-election in NA-75 Daska on an application of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Linking further hearing in NA-75 Daska by-election case to the availability of the bench, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday barred the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from going ahead with the polling in the constituency on April 10 as originally scheduled.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heading the bench, remarked that the date for the hearing would be fixed as soon as the bench was available.
Following this, the court adjourned the hearing in the case for an indefinite period of time.
Earlier during the hearing, Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for NA-75 Daska Nausheen Iftikhar, told the court that the incidents of violence had affected all 76 polling stations in the constituency.
Justice Bandial replied that a polling agent of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had also lost his life in an incident of firing.
He further remarked that responsibility for the clashes could not be put on the shoulders of one party only as workers from both PTI and PML-N were responsible for the conflict.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), on March 5, had challenged in the Supreme Court the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision of re-election in NA-75, Daska after declaring as null and void the outcome of the February 19 by-election.
PTI candidate in the by-election of NA-75, Daska, Ali Asjad Malhi, filed a petition in the apex court on Friday, pleading the court to nullify the ECP’s decision of repolling in NA-75.
In his petition, Malhi contended that the ECP did not take into account the facts while pronouncing the decision since it did not properly scrutinize the available record. “And, therefore, there is no logic behind election commission’s decision of re-election in the entire constituency,” the PTI candidate said, and added re-polling in the constituency amounted to again creating law and order situation for the people of that constituency.
The PML-N had accused the government of trying to rig the election by kidnapping 20 presiding officers along with the relevant record.
The presiding officers remained missing all night only to return to the constituency the next morning.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had, on February 25, declared as null and void the outcome of the by-election in NA-75, Daska and ordered re-election in the entire constituency.
The petition further reads that the PTI candidate’s rival candidate belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had already tasted defeat in the by-election.
PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi has made PML-N candidate Nausheen Iftikhar, ECP and other respondents in the case.
Reporter Amanat Gishkori