KARACHI, May 21: As many as six election petitions, all against successful candidates of the Pakistan Peoples Party, came up on Tuesday for hearing before the Sindh High Court that disposed of two of them instantly directing the Election Commission of Pakistan to decide the applications for recounting within two weeks.
A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar also issued notices to the ECP, returning officers concerned and the respondent candidates and adjourned the hearing of the remaining four petitions to May 30.The bench disposed of the petition of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Karim Ali Jatoi, who lost a National Assembly seat (NA-232) in Dadu to Sardar Rafique Ahmed Jamali of the PPP.
Petitioner Jatoi submitted that his polling agents were held hostage by the PPP workers and supporters who rigged polls in at least 36 polling stations in the constituency.
The second petition against the PPP’s winning candidate Pir Bux Chandio from a provincial assembly constituency (PS-75) in Dadu was filed by his rival candidate, Banda Ali Leghari.
Petitioner Leghari submitted in his petition that the ECP and the respondent RO failed to hold fair and free elections as the workers and supporter of his rival candidate resorted to rigging before, during and after polling.
Both the petitioners stated that they moved the ECP against rigging by the workers and supporters of their respective rival candidates, but to no avail.
While disposing of the petitions of Messrs Jatoi and Leghari, the court directed the ECP to decide their applications within two weeks.
The court put the ECP and the RO concerned on notice in a petition of Zulfiqar Ali Kumario, a candidate of a provincial assembly seat (PS-19) in Shikarpur, who was defeated by Agha Siraj Durrani of the PPP.
The petitioner submitted that his voters were threatened by the workers and supporters of the rival PPP candidate and his polling agents were not allowed to enter the polling stations by the police.
He also alleged that the rival candidate’s supporters also destroyed the ballot boxes that contained votes in his favour.
The petitioner stated that he also lodged a complaint with the ECP against rigging, but it did not take any action in this regard.
The bench issued notices to the ECP and other respondents for May 30 in a petition filed by Arif Mustafa Jatoi, a defeated candidate from PS-22, who said he lost the election with a narrow margin of 57 votes to Abdul Sattar Rajpar of the PPP.
The petitioner submitted that as per results provided to him on May 12 by the RO, he emerged victorious on the PA seat. However, he added, on May 15 he was summoned by the RO and was given another result which showed that he had lost the seat with a margin of 57 votes to Mr Rajpar.
He stated that he had approached the ECP and filed an application which was yet to be decided.
He asked the court to restrain the ECP from issuing a notification of the successful candidate on the seat.
The court issued notices to the ECP and other respondents in a petition of Muhammed Ibrahim, a candidate of the PML-N from NA-202 in Shikarpur, who lost election to Aftab Shabaan Meerani of the PPP.
He stated that he was declared successful on May 11 and later on May 15 he was declared defeated.
Petitioner Zainul Abideen, a defeated candidate from PS-27 in Nawabshah, filed his election petition against the PPP’s successful candidate Ghulam Qadir Chandio.
He stated that the election was rigged in his constituency by influential figures belonging to the PPP.