ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court summoned on Tuesday the secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and officials of National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) about the missing election record of polling station No29 in the NA-110 constituency and discrepancies in CNIC numbers.
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif won the seat in the last general elections after getting 92,803 votes, while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Usman Dar bagged 71,525 votes in 2013.
Usman Dar challenged Asif’s victory in the Election Tribunal, but the tribunal decided against him, forcing him to approach the Supreme Court.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, heard the PTI candidate’s appeal against the Election Tribunal. The bench said the ECP, as the custodian of election material, should explain how the record from the polling station went missing.
During the hearing, Babar Awan, the counsel for Usman Dar, contended that according to initial reports, the difference between Khawaja Asif and his client was 21,000 votes. Insisting that ECP officials had colluded with the winning candidate in making the record disappear, he said that 30,000 votes had gone missing in polling station 29.
When Justice Atta Bandial asked him to prove the connivance, he (Awan) said there might be some record of polling station 29 that will show who had won from that polling station. Justice Faisal Arab said that the losing candidate might have also obtained some votes from the polling station.
Awan pointed out that of the 142,000 votes cast in the constituency, only 44,000 could be verified.
Justice Bandial questioned if only 44,000 votes were verified what was the fault of the winning candidate?
The lawyer maintained that everything was done by the winning candidate in connivance with the ECP officials.
Awan contended that in the matter of Amir Zaman election, the apex court had ordered for holding election in seven polling stations. But, he said, in its review petition, the court declared the election of entire constituency null and void and ordered by-election to be held.
The apex court summoned NADRA officials to explain the anomaly and adjourned hearings till today (Wednesday).
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2016.