LHC orders vote recount in NA-157

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LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday ordered vote recounting in NA-157 Khanewal-III on a petition challenging election of Hamid Yar Hiraj from the constituency. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed directed the Khanewal district & sessions judge to recount all votes cast in presence of both parties and candidates to find out the number of invalid votes.
The judge issued the order on a petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Muhammad Khan Daha, through his counsel, submitting that in the 2008 general elections, Hiraj was declared the successful candidate from NA-157 with 58,782 votes whereas he secured 58,169. He submitted that brother of the respondent was the Khanewal zila nazim who manipulated the elections with help of the DCO and polling staff.
The petitioner contended that he had won the elections with a margin of 4,000 votes but a large number of invalid votes were counted to benefit the respondent. Daha submitted that if the invalid votes were excluded, he would have been declared the successful candidate.
The PML-N leader said that provisions of Section 39(3) of the ROPA 1976 were also not complied, as his application for recounting was rejected by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the returning officer. He requested the court to order recounting of ballot papers and declare Hiraj’s election as null and void.