LAHORE, Sept 2: The returning officer of PP-150 Lahore on Monday started recounting of votes with a seven-hour delay as Election Commission staff allegedly failed to timely find four of the ballot bags ‘lying the record room’.

Mehr Wajid Azeem of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had lost the by-election held on Aug 22 to Mian Marghoob Ahmad of the Muslim League-Nawaz on the Punjab Assembly constituency.

The PTI workers, lawyers and leaders protested against the ‘mismanagement’ on the part of the ECP and expressed serious reservation with regard to the Commission’s role in the matter. The polling agents of both parties also exchanged heated arguments before the returning officer over the delayed recounting.

Only eight out of 147 presiding officers of the constituency were present in the RO’s room when at last the recounting started at 4pm.

On the first day, votes polled at eight polling stations were recounted. Dozens of ballot papers having no stamp or having double stamps were found in the bags of both candidates. The recounting process will be resumed on Tuesday (today). The ECP officials told the media at sessions court that complaints of the candidates about the recounting were being entertained and reviewed.

The acting Chief Election Commissioner, Justice Tassaduq Husain Jilani, had taken suo motu notice of the protest launched by the PTI workers against alleged rigging in the constituency. The acting CEC later ordered recounting of votes.

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