LHC summons ECP lawyer over RO office change

PTI candidate raises concerns about potential malpractice and electoral rigging suspicions

Our Correspondent April 18, 2024
Lahore High Court building. FILE: PHOTO



The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday summoned the lawyer of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for further proceedings over a plea against the relocation of the returning officer office in Wazirabad ahead of by-polls.

Fayyaz Chattha, the former district Nazim of Gujranwala and son of veteran politician Hamid Nasir Chattha, is currently contesting the upcoming by-election in PP-36, Wazirabad.

In a hearing presided over by Justice Shahid Bilal Hasan, the court addressed the petition filed by Fayyaz Chattha, which challenges the decision to shift the RO office of Wazirabad’s PP-36 constituency. The ECP and other relevant parties have been included in the petition.

The petition argued that the relocation of the RO office to Gujranwala from Wazirabad raises concerns, as it means that the 185 polling officers of the constituency would have to travel approximately 50 km to access the results.

This, the petition contended, could potentially facilitate malpractice and raise suspicions of electoral rigging.

Suspecting alleged malice behind the decision, the petition urged the court to intervene and order the establishment of the returning officer office in Wazirabad, maintaining the integrity of the electoral process.

It is notable that despite being a candidate backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Fayyaz Chattha is contesting the by-poll under the banner of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), following the policy of his party.

The PP-36 seat became vacant after Fayyaz Chattha's younger brother, Muhammad Ahmed Chattha, relinquished it. Muhammad Ahmed Chattha, who had won the election on two seats, including an NA seat, opted to retain the NA seat, leaving the provincial assembly.

With the by-election scheduled for April 21, candidates have intensified their electioneering efforts following the recent Eid respite.


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