PESHAWAR: Not only have re-elections at 365 polling stations been challenged through a petition at the Peshawar High Court, but the legitimacy of the entire process has been brought into question.
Filed by PK-24 (Mardan) MPA Zahid Durrani through his counsel Muhammad Muazzam Butt, the petition claims both the elections and the re-elections are against the law.
Durrani is a prominent leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The petition names the secretary of the provincial chief election commissioner as one of the respondents.
Other respondents include Mardan’s district returning officer, DIG and DPO, and secretary Election Commission of Pakistan.
“The DRO, who is also the Mardan commissioner, had stated in a letter on June 3 that polls could not be free and fair without proper security from the armed forces,” the petition stated.
In the petition, the MPA contended, the Mardan RO’s assessment concluded all parties were involved in rigging. There were also misprinted ballot papers, poorly trained staff and other flaws on Election Day, it read. The petitioner further claimed there was sabotage at polling stations, scuffles and harassment of ROs, AROs and staff, among other irregularities.
According to Durrani’s petition, the disparity between the election commission and the local administration was that the government was completely impartial. “Now the ECP has announced re-elections in 365 polling stations on July 5.”
The MPA said, “The question for the high court would be to decide whether such an election could be deemed fair. The election process was rigged and if it was not rendered void, it would go against fundamental rights.”
He requested the court to declare the election in K-P against the law and the Constitution. He also requested the election in Mardan to be declared null and void.
“Re-polling at 365 polling stations on July 5 is an offshoot of the local government election and is without jurisdiction.”
Durrani’s petition requested the court to direct the respondents to hold fresh and fair elections according to the letter of the law. The PHC was also asked to direct the ECP to suspend any further steps taken on the basis of the election on May 30, including oaths taken by the returned candidates.
The MPA asked for the suspension of re-polling till the court makes a decision on his petition.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2015.