- Apex court orders NADRA to verify within 30 days voter thumb impressions and counterfoils in NA-125 constituency from where Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique had won the election
- Election tribunal in Lahore dismisses plea filed by PTI’s Aleem Khan alleging irregularities and pre-poll rigging in NA-122 by-poll
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered verification of voter thumb impressions and counterfoils in Lahore’s NA-125 constituency, where Federal Railways Minister Saad Rafique of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had defeated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Hamid Khan in the 2013 general elections.
Meanwhile in Lahore, an election tribunal dismissed an election petition filed by PTI candidate Abdul Aleem Khan alleging irregularities and pre-poll rigging in the NA-122 (Lahore) by-election, for being non-maintainable.
Hearing a petition filed by Saad Rafique against the decision of an election tribunal that had deseated him from the National Assembly (NA) and ordered re-polling in the constituency, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to submit a report on vote verification in 90 days.
The apex court also ordered PTI leader Hamid Khan to bear expenses of the vote verification process.
In May last year, an election tribunal had ordered re-election in NA-125 after Hamid Khan filed a petition alleging rigging in the 2013 polls. In response, Rafique approached the apex court which suspended the May 4 decision of the election tribunal to de-seat Rafique “pending a decision” by the court.
Rafique, whose NA membership had been suspended after the tribunal verdict, was re-instated as member of the legislature by the election commission following the SC order.
NA-125 was among the four controversial constituencies — the other three being NA-110 (Sialkot), NA-122 (Lahore) and NA-154 (Lodhran) — where PTI had demanded for voters’ thumbprint verification after the 2013 general election to clear the air on the legitimacy of polls.
After the government did not give in to PTI’s demand, the party staged a months-long protest in the capital starting Aug 2014.
ALEEM KHAN’S PETITION DISMISSED:
In Lahore, an election tribunal comprising Judge Muhammad Rasheed Qamar announced the verdict in Aleem Khan’s petition that it had reserved at the last hearing.
Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq’s counsel Khawaja Haris questioning maintainability of the plea submitted that electoral lists could not be challenged before election tribunal as the issue did not fall under its jurisdiction.
He said that the oath commissioner’s stamp and date was missing in the election petition and as per the Supreme Court’s judgment, such a petition was not maintainable. He further said that the allegations levelled in the petition were baseless and pleaded the court to dismiss the petition being non-maintainable.
However, Aleem Khan’s counsel Anees Hashmi opposed the request and submitted that all legal requirements were fulfilled and election tribunal was empowered to hear the matter as per Representation of Peoples Act.
The petitioner through his petition alleged that at least 30,000 votes had been cancelled and shifted from the NA-122 constituency before the by-poll. He contended that this act of the commission amounted to pre-poll rigging and therefore sought setting aside the result of the by-election on the grounds of alleged rigging.
Also, an election tribunal dismissed a petition challenging the election of PTI MPA Murad Ross from PP-152 in 2013 general election.
The tribunal comprising Muhammad Raseed Qamar heard the petition filed by Punjab CM’s Adviser on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique who lost the 2013 general election from PP-152 to MPA Murad Ross.
Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that the respondent MPA committed rigging to secure his victory in the general election.
He said that the respondent misled the public by introducing himself as a doctorate degree holder whereas his degree was honorary. He pleaded the court to set aside the election of respondent and order re-polling.
However, the respondent MPA’s counsel denied the allegations and submitted that the respondent did not commit any rigging whereas he had honourary degree and did not mislead the public.
The court after hearing the arguments of both parties dismissed the election petition.
PP-147 BY-POLL CASE:
Another election tribunal in Lahore dismissed a petition challenging the election of PTI MPA Shoaib Siddiqui in PP-147 by-poll for being non-maintainable.
The tribunal comprising Rasheed Qamar heard the petition filed by PML-N candidate Mian Mohsin Latif who lost the October 11, 2015 by-poll to Shoaib Siddiqui.
Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel had submitted that the respondent MPA committed illegal and corrupt practices to secure his victory in PP-147 by-poll. He pleaded the court to set aside the election of the MPA and order re-polling in the constituency.
However, Shoaib Siddiqui’s counsel submitted that the petition was not maintainable as it was not verified in accordance with law. He pleaded the court to dismiss the plea. The tribunal after hearing arguments of the parties dismissed the petition for being non-maintainable.