ECP orders recount of votes in NA-249 Karachi by-election

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KARACHI – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday ordered recounting of votes in NA-249 constituency Karachi by-polls.

A four-member ECP committee headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja issued the order after accepting a petition filed by PML-N’s candidate Miftah Ismail seeking vote recount over irregularities on the election day.

The recounting of votes will be held at 9 am on May 6.

PML-N was represented by counsel Salman Akram Raja who argued that a large number of Form 45 were not duly signed by the presiding officers, adding that the polling agents of the party were also not given Form 46.

Asking the ECP to conduct an investigation into the alleged irregularities, Raja said that his client will file a separate plea for re-election in the constituency.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan People’s Party’s counsel Latif Khosa opposed the re-polling in the constituency.

On Saturday, the ECP issued a stay order, withholding the results of NA-249 Karachi by-elections, after accepting a PML-N’s petition, seeking recount of votes.

The petition was filed by PML-N candidate Mifta Ismail, who lost the election by a narrow margin of 683 votes to PPP’s candidate Qadir Khan Mandokhel on April 29.

Earlier, Ismail had filed an application that same day the results were announced for a recount but it was rejected by the RO on May 1.

The PML-N candidate now “submitted an application under Section 95(6) of the Elections Act, 2017 before the commission wherein he has requested for a complete recount of the entire constituency,” according the ECP order.

“The petitioner has further pointed out that there is a difference in the total votes recorded in Form-45 and Form-47.

“The petitioner has also submitted an application for the forensic audit of Form-45 with WhatsApp/RTS on April 30,” read the order.

“Since the consolidation of result has not yet been done and as the margin of victory is less than 5 per cent of the total votes polled in the constituency or 10,000 votes whichever is less in accordance with the provisions of Section 95 (5) of the Act, therefore; the Commission is satisfied that prima facie case exists for intervention, and therefore stay the consolidation process.”

As per the withheld official results, PPP candidate Qadir Khan Mandokhel secured 16,156 votes while Miftah Ismail managed to 15,473 votes.

73,471 out of total 339,591 registered voters in the constituency cast their votes in the by election. The constituency registered a low voter turnout of 21.61%.

Read more: https://pakobserver.net/ppps-qadir-mandokhel-declared-winner-in-na-249-by-polls/