Khokhar demands return of Islamabad's mandate

Ex-PPP leader claims election rigging in NA-48, NA-47

Hasnaat Malik May 28, 2024
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar. PHOTO: FILE


Former PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, who contested general elections in two constituencies of Islamabad, has requested election tribunals to return the mandate of the people of Islamabad to their chosen representatives for NA-48 and NA-47.

In response to the election tribunal's notice, Khokhar submitted a reply through Chaudhry Faisal Hussain Advocate, supporting the election petition filed by PTI candidate Syed Ali Bukhari. The reply states that Khokhar contested the February 8 general elections from the National Assembly constituency NA-48 as an independent candidate alongside the petitioner—Bukhari—and 36 other candidates.

Khokhar said he received 18,572 votes. The PTI-backed candidate polled 75,166 votes, whereas PML-N’s Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz (Respondent No 3) scored only 31,153 votes.

He claimed it is unfortunate that the mandate of the people of Islamabad was altered in an illegal, unlawful, and wrong manner by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the returning officer (respondents No. 1 and 2 in the case) to benefit the PML-N candidate.

“It is submitted that the ECP was under the mandatory constitutional obligation to hold elections in a fair, just, and honest manner. [But it] miserably failed to perform its constitutional duty to hold elections in a transparent and just manner. The election held on Feb 8 is marred by illegal and corrupt practices.

“The election laws were flouted in an absolutely reckless manner by respondents No 1, 2, and 3. The results were changed after the polling hours when Respondent No 2 banned representatives of the answering respondent from entering his camp office in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad, and restrained them from observing the vote counting in absolute violation of election laws."

According to Khokhar, rigging started as soon as the election schedule was announced. Hundreds of incidents are on record where the candidates, their proposers, and seconders were forcibly stopped/abducted by the management.

“On the election day, cellular service across the country was suspended. The havoc created by the ECP with the help of officials conducting election duties continued even after the election day.”

According to the politician, local as well as international monitors and media have declared the elections rigged and badly managed.

“The altercations with regard to the difference between forms 45 and 47 is talk of the town. The forms uploaded by respondent No 1 manifest gross illegalities and changes in the election results in the most absurd manner.

“According to the information and Forms-45 received from polling agents of the answering respondent, the petitioner secured 75,166 votes whereas respondent No 3 stood as the runner-up by securing approximately 31,153 votes.

“Following the results, the answering respondent, being a staunch believer in democratic norms and values, congratulated the winner on the eve of election day.

“However, on the morning of February 9, he came to know that respondent No 3 was declared as the winning candidate from NA-48 by the Returning Officer/respondent No 2 in contradiction of the polling results received by the answering respondent."

Khokhar said to ensure transparency, the ECP under the Election Act, 2017, was duty-bound to do two things: First, to announce results within twenty-four hours of the polling day and secondly, to post results from each and every polling station from all over the country on its website within fourteen days of polling.
He said the integrity of elections in Pakistan stood on these two pillars, but the ECP quite brazenly violated both.

"The acts of Respondent No 1 and 2 in connivance with respondent No 3 fall in the ambit of corrupt and illegal practice and in violation of sections 13, 90, 92, 95 of the Election Act 2017 read with rules 80, 81, 84 & 85 of the Election Rules, 2017,” he added.


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