Election tribunal dismisses PTI petition alleging rigging in NA-118

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An election tribunal dismissed a petition on Wednesday filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s Hamid Zaman alleging rigging during the 2013 general elections in Lahore’s NA-118 constituency, upholding Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MNA Riaz Malik’s victory.

Zaman had urged the tribunal to disqualify MNA Riaz Malik on grounds of rigging. The tribunal’s decision, which had been reserved yesterday, was announced on Wednesday.

Riaz Malik of the PML-N had won the election from the NA-118 with 104,000 votes, while Hamid Zaman was the runner-up with 40,000 votes.

The tribunal’s decision was handed out by Justice (r) Rasheed Qamar. Justice (r) Kazim Malik, who had de-seated PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq from Lahore’s NA-122 constituency, was adjudicating the petition. But after Malik’s retirement, the case was heard by Rasheed Qamar.

The tribunal said that the petitioner was unable to present concrete evidence to support his claims.

Talking to reporters after the decision was announced, MNA Riaz Malik said that he had won the election by a margin of almost 60,000 votes, a result upheld by the election tribunal.

Meanwhile PTI’s Hamid Zaman said he had reservations over the new judge appointed to adjudicate the petition, adding that he would challenge the tribunal’s decision.

National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) had found discrepancies in the election record of NA-118.

NADRA’s report had said that it was provided the record of 68 polling stations by the Election Commission; only 15,835 out of the total 46,118 polled votes at these polling stations were found correct in terms of thumb impressions of the voters. NADRA found counterfoils of 4,043 votes with invalid CNIC numbers and 142 votes were cast by unregistered voters. It said that thumb impressions of voters were not found on 272 counterfoils.