ECP says to include expat votes in final by-poll tally

  • Spokesperson says ECP shares details of expat votes with relevant returning officers

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to include the votes cast by expatriates in the by-poll results after a meeting with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) authorities on Monday.

ECP spokesperson Nadeem Qasim said that the details of all the votes cast through the internet have been sent to the relevant returning officers. “They (returning officers) will add these results to their final tallies,” he said. Out of 7,364 registered expatriate votes, 6,233 polled their votes through i-voting software in Sunday’s by-polls.

The Election Commission had allowed the expatriates to vote in the by-polls on an experimental basis on the directives of the Supreme Court. Though the ECP has not released a statement about the turnout in the by-polls, an official said the estimated turnout was between 35 and 40 per cent.

Since the margin of victory is very narrow in one National Assembly, three Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and two Punjab Assembly seats, the votes of the expatriates may play a pivotal role in impacting the final verdict. In Rawalpindi’s NA-60, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Sheikh Rashid Shafique won by a margin of 60 votes as he secured 44,483 votes against Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Sajjad Khan who obtained 43,836 votes.

In Swat’s PK-7, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Waqar Ahmed Khan won by a margin of 671 votes as he received 14,096 votes while Fazal Mola of PTI stood runner-up with 13,425 votes. In PK-3, Sardar Khan of the PML-N won with a margin of 913 votes against Sajid Ali Khan of the ruling party by securing 16,824 votes against the rival who managed to bag 15,911 votes.

On PK-53 in Mardan, the margin of victory was just 61 votes. PTI’s Muhammad Abdus Salam won from the seat as he received 19,192 votes while ANP’s Ahmed Khan received 19,131 votes. In Jhelum’s PP-27, the victorious PML-N’s Nasir Mahmood could only get a lead of 656 votes in the contest with PTI’s Shahnawaz Raja in the contest for the seat.

Attock’s PP-3, the victory margin was of 227 votes in which PML-N’s Iftikhar Ahmed Khan secured 43,259 votes to defeat PTI’s Muhammad Akbar Khan who received 43,032 votes. The i-voting pilot project was launched by the ECP last month to enable expatriates to cast votes.