Election tribunal de-seats NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri


–Suri remains eligible to contest re-election in NA-265 amid rigging allegations


QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court’s (BHC) election tribunal on Friday declared Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri’s election to the National Assembly as void and ordered a re-election in the NA-265 (Quetta II) constituency.

The tribunal did not announce a date for the re-election. Suri, who has been de-seated following the tribunal’s verdict, remains eligible to contest the re-election.

The NA-265 result had been challenged by Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani, who had filed a petition against alleged rigging in the constituency.

Over the course of the case’s proceedings, the tribunal had also directed the National Database and Registration Authority to submit biometric verification of voters that were registered in the constituency.

The election tribunal, headed by Justice Abdullah Baloch, had reserved its verdict in the matter earlier this month.

Raisani was one of the candidates who had contested from NA-265, but had lost to Suri, who had subsequently gone on to become the National Assembly’s deputy speaker.

The Balochistan National Party (BNP) candidate, in his petition, had contended that of a total of 114,000 votes cast during the polls in NA-265, “65,000 votes were invalid”. He had argued that the election had been “rigged” since a sizeable number of votes could not be verified.

According to the results announced by the ECP, Suri had received 25,979 votes while Raisani had received 20,394 votes. According to the ECP’s official results, 3,422 votes in total had been rejected in the constituency.

Addressing the media after the verdict was announced, BNP Chief Akhtar Mengal said the tribunal’s decision was a “victory of BNP as well as all democratic forces”.

“Our doubts regarding rigging in elections have proven to be true,” Mengal said. “The confidence of people, who hope for justice, has increased by this decision.

“[We] hope that those who protested against election rigging after 2013 polls will accept this decision.”

Mengal expressed hope that “the Supreme Court [will] order a reelection in this constituency soon following this verdict”.