ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday issued stay order over the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision for fresh polling in NA-75 Daska by-election, scheduled to be held on April 10.
The ECP on February 25 had declared the results of previous polling invalidate following the missing of 20 presiding officers and violence that resulted in killing of two people and injuring others.
The top court heard a petition filed by Asjad Ali Malhi, the PTI’s candidate in NA-75, against ECP’s orders for re-polling in the constituency. The by-election has been postponed for indefinite period.
The bench remarked that the court required more time to decide the matter, adding that PML-N’s counsel Salman Akram Raja’s arguments are being heard and petitioner is yet to be heard.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the ECP’s decision was not being suspended but by-election has been postponed.
Raja during the hearing presented the map of the constituency and informed the court that out of total 76 polling stations irregularities were reported from 34 stations. He added that 20 presiding officers also went missing after the polling concluded.
He highlighted that making the polls controversial is in interest of the PTI’s candidate as he was expected to lose the election.
ECP orders fresh polling
On February 25, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had declared the by-polls of the NA-75 Daska constituency null and void.
It announced that the voting for the by-polls will be held on March 18 again. The polling date however had been rescheduled to April 10.
The PML-N had requested the election body for re-election in the Daska constituency as the February 19 election was marred by various controversies.
The ECP had withheld the results after 20 presiding officers of polling stations in the constituency went missing and they submitted the results with 14 hours delay.
The DRO and RO suspected that the results of 20 polling stations in the NA-75 by-election have been rigged, the ECP had said.
The NA-75 was also a hotly-contested constituency as it saw violence throughout the day. Two people – one belonged to the PML-N and the other was a PTI worker – were killed during the firing incident.
SC rejects PTI’s petition against ECP order
On March 20, the top court once again turned down a request to declare the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order of re-polling in the NA-75 Daska by-elections ‘illegal’.
The request was rejected by a three-member bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, while hearing a plea regarding the NA-75 Daska by-polls filed by a PTI leader.