SC turns down PTI plea against Daska re-polls, again

Says ECP's response, detailed decision of significant importance; reviewing whether elections were transparent


Our Correspondent March 19, 2021
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected once again the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s plea seeking suspension of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)'s decision to hold re-polls in NA-75 (Daska).

During the hearing of the case, Justice Umar Ata Bandial noted that the ECP ordered re-polling in the constituency over violation of law. He said that as per the details provided, 20 presiding officers were missing until the next morning.

Moreover, the top court observed, that all the confrontation took place in the urban areas of the constituency.

The judge maintained that the detailed decision of the ECP and their response were of significant importance.

Read SC rejects PTI plea on NA-75 re-poll

PTI's counsel Shehzad Shaukat implored that PML-N's candidate Nausheen Iftikhar asked for re-polling in 23 polling stations at 4am the next day.

He maintained that the PML-N's counsel relied on the press release of the electoral authority. According to that statement, he added, the secretary ECP contacted IG Punjab, the PTI counsel added.

Justice Bandial stated that according to the DRO's report, incidents of firing were reported at several polling stations, but no such incident took place at the polling stations where the presiding officers had disappeared.

He further said that the court was reviewing whether or not the elections were held transparently.

The judge added that the police played the role of a spectator when scuffles broke out in the constituency.

Read more ECP reschedules Daska re-polling to April 10

"It seems that police were not trained to maintain law and order during the elections," Justice Bandial stated, adding that that law was not adhered to during the polls. However, he questioned whether aerial firing was as big an issue to call for a re-election.

He went on to add that the ECP acted out over the police's lack of cooperation. "Action can be taken against police, but their lack of cooperation can't prove grounds for re-polls," the judge maintained.

Turning down the plea calling for the ECP's decision for re-polling to be rejected, the top court adjourned the hearing till next week.

Read more ECP orders re-polling in all polling stations of NA-75

Earlier, on March 16, the SC had rejected PTI's NA-75 candidate Asjad Ali Malhi's plea seeking the suspension of the ECP's order.

The judge had stated that he respected the constitutional institution and could not suspend its orders, but court would decide whether it should be held in the entire constituency or at a few polling stations.

On March 10, the commission decided to immediately fill the vacant electoral staff positions and reschedule the NA-75 by-polls for April 10.

The electoral body had earlier declared the by-poll held on February 19 in the constituency as void and ordered a fresh election on March 18.

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