NA-249 by-poll All parties, except PPP boycott recount

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Vote recount to continue: ECP


Staff Reporter
Karachi

All parties, except the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and independent candidates seeking recounting in the NA-249 constituency boycotted the process on Wednesday over non-provision of Form 46 and counterfoil of ballot papers not being checked.

In a letter addressed to the returning officer (RO), the parties maintained that, “For want of non-provision of Form 46 and denial to allow access to the counterfoil of ballot paper, we cannot participate in [the] subject proceedings.”

The signatories to the letter included the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Pasban and others.

The parties pointed out in the letter that, “…the first bag [of ballot papers] lying on [the] table was without a seal,” adding that all parties were boycotting the recount “under this attitude”.

The aggrieved parties maintained that there was no precedent of recounting being conducted without the empty ballots being counted, or Form 46 and counterfoil signatures or seals not being checked.

According to PML-N’s Miftah Ismail, “All ballot bags were unsealed when [they] reached [the] RO office.” He also alleged that 167 forms did not have signatures of the presiding officers.

According to PTI’s Amjad Iqbal Afridi, the by-poll had been “planned”. He said they were not being provided with Form 46, adding that the party will not let the PPP influence results. “There should be a re-poll in the constituency,” he maintained.

PSP’s Hafeezuddin accused the ROs of siding with those who rigged the polls. The ECP reportedly contacted the boycotting lawmakers, but they refused to be a part of the process.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday said the vote recounting in the NA-249 constituency will continue despite a boycott by major political parties.

The ECP has clarified that according to the chief election commissioner’s order issued on the PML-N’s petition, commission is bound to recount only the votes that were polled and rejected.

“Despite the boycott, the recount process will be completed as per the order,” the ECP officials said. He added that political parties were demanding data which was not possible to retrieve.

All parties, except the PPP, have boycotted the recounting process, alleging that the polling bags were not sealed when brought for the recount and that officials refused to provide Form 45 and Form 46.