An election tribunal ruled in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday, announcing re-polling in the coveted NA-125, Lahore Cantt constituency, Express News reported.
Further, the tribunal also announced re-polling in PP-155 constituency (Cantonment).
The decision came after the tribunal found irregularities in the polls that were held in the constituency in the May 2013 general elections.
After the election tribunal declared the NA-125 polls null and void, Khawaja Saad Rafique will have to resign as a Member of National Assembly, according to former ECP secretary Kanwar Dilshad.
“Rafique can challenge the disqualification in court,” Dilshad added.
PTI chairman Imran Khan’s wife took to Twitter to celebrate.
While, PTI leader Asad Umar also tweeted questioning whether the re-polling is the beginning of the end of current assemblies.
Responding to the tribunal’s verdict, Khawaja Saad Rafique said today’s decision is against the incompetence of returning officers and presiding officers.
“The judge ordered re-polling because he feels there are some irregularities,” he said.
PHOTO: MALIK SHAFIQ/EXPRESS
Rafique added, “The judge has punished my party and me for the incompetence of the officers.”
“Today’s decision declared there was no rigging, the judge said there were irregularities owing to incompetence,” he said, adding the verdict is unfair.
Further, Rafique said he has the option of challenging the verdict in the Supreme Court. “My party and legal advisers will make a decision after consultation regarding challenging the verdict in the Supreme Court.”
Lashing out at Imran Khan, Rafique alleged, “Imran Khan lies constantly.”
Earlier, the election tribunal had reserved its verdict in a petition accusing PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique of rigging the 2013 election in NA-125 and cancellation of a notification declaring Rafique as the winner from the constituency.
Muhammad Hussain, counsel for petitioner Hamid Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, earlier requested the tribunal to set aside the notification and order a re-election in the constituency.
In December 2014, a National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) report had found over 20 per cent of the votes cast in Lahore’s NA-125 constituency were “bogus.”
The vote verification report – spread over 125 pages – was submitted to the election tribunal.
NADRA checked a total of 1,254 votes and declared 280 bogus. The said votes were rejected for want of verification of thumbprint and CNIC numbers, whereas at some instances, one person had cast multiple votes, the report said.
The petition alleging rigging in PP-155 had been filed by Hafiz Farhat Abbas of the PTI. Mian Naseer of the PML-N had been declared winner in the constituency in the 2013 election by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
A copy of the tribunal’s press note obtained by our correspondent Noman Ahmed can be viewed here: