PK-50, Haripur-II: ‘PTI used state apparatus to secure win for its contender’

Independent candidate Babar filed a petition with ECP for recount in the constituency .

Muhammad Sadaqat January 29, 2014
Independent candidate Babar filed a petition with ECP for recount in the constituency. PHOTO: FILE


Allegations of a rigged by-election in PK-50, Haripur-II have already surfaced. The runner-up, Babar Nawaz Khan, has accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of using state machinery to secure its candidate’s win; a Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) report corroborates Babar’s statement.

Babar filed an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday through his counsel Advocate Khalid Khan Qureshi, seeking a recount of ballot papers collected from all 116 polling stations and a count of 1,266 votes polled in favour of Babar which were rejected when the final result was tabulated. The ECP is likely to fix a date for the hearing in the next few days.

Crying foul

Following the by-election held on January 23, Babar had accused the PTI-led provincial government of “winning the seat” for its candidate Akbar Ayub Khan and announced he would file a petition with the Election Tribunal seeking a recount.

According to unofficial results, Akbar Ayub Khan had won by securing 26,957 votes, Babar came in second with 23,760 and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan obtained 22,028 votes.

However, Babar, who contested as an independent candidate and is the son of Awami National Party’s slain MPA Akhtar Nawaz Khan, has refused to accept the result, claiming he has proof of the alleged rigging. According to him, when he visited various polling stations on the day of the election, he noticed that several policemen had stamped the ballot papers for Akbar.

Babar claimed residents of the constituency were fed up with the politics of Tareens who have been ruling the district for the last three generations and thus voted in his favour.

The runner-up maintained he had won from 78 polling stations of 116 but had lost in the rest of the stations because “government officials manipulated the result.”

Furthermore, a Fafen observation report on the election in PK-50 also recorded 24 violations of the code of conduct devised by the ECP.

According to a Fafen press release issued on January 24, policemen were seen stamping ballot papers at an unnamed polling station, in line with Babar’s claims.

The Fafen report also indicated the polling process had been suspended briefly in over a dozen polling stations there. Referring to this report, Babar told The Express Tribune that since his allegations have been corroborated by an independent monitoring unit, he will now seek a recount.

Babar had earlier filed an application with PK-50 Returning Officer Mian Zahidullah Jan for a recount in the entire constituency, however the request was rejected.

PK-50, Haripur-II fell vacant after former provincial minister Yusuf Ayub Khan, the brother of MPA-elect Akbar Ayub, was disqualified by the ECP on the basis of violating clauses 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2014.


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