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KARACHI: Over 13,000 votes in NA-200 — a National Assembly constituency in Ghotki won by the Pakistan Peoples Party — are reported to have been found defective in a manual verification of counterfoils as they did not carry the stamp and signature of presiding officers.

The manual verification of the counterfoils was conducted by the Election Tribunal of Karachi on the application of Khalid Khan Loond, an independent candidate, who lost the election in NA-200 to Ali Gohar Khan Mahar.

Mr Loond, who had secured 76,615 votes, challenged the election of Mr Mahar, who bagged 86,579 votes.

The election petition against the victory of the PPP’s Mahar was initially filed in the Election Tribunal of Sukkur that ordered the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) to verify the thumb impressions of voters on ballots in 59 polling stations on the application of Mr Loond.

Later, the PPP MNA challenged the tribunal’s order for thumbprints verification in the Sindh High Court. The SHC rejected his petition ruling that the “interlocutory orders impugned by means of the present petition can only be challenged in appeal before the Supreme Court” at the appropriate stage.

Nadra conducted the verification exercise on the tribunal orders and concluded in its report that over 23,000 ballots could not be verified by its system.

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Later, the election petition against the election results of NA-200 was shifted to the Election Tribunal of Karachi headed by former high court judge Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan Sherwani, after the resignation of the presiding officer of the ET of Sukkur, Zahiruddin Leghari.

Later, Mr Loond, represented by Advocate Zamir Hussain Ghumro, moved an application to the election tribunal for manual verification of the ballots. The ET granted his application and called for the relevant record from the Election Commission of Pakistan for manual verification of the ballots, which started on Monday and concluded on Tuesday. The manual verification of the 23,000 ballots was carried out and 13,000 votes were found to be defective.

The ET would hear the final arguments from the two sides on Aug 4.

DEO case

The provincial authorities informed the Sindh High Court that district education officer Syeda Nelofer Ali was removed from her post on corruption charges.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Muneb Akhtar was hearing a petition filed by the DEO challenging the notification of the education and literacy department regarding her removal from the post.

A provincial government law officer filed comments of the secretary of education and literacy department in response to the court notice.

The comments said that the district education officer was relieved of her duty on charges of mismanagement, indiscipline and corruption.

It was stated that an enquiry into the allegations levelled against Ms Nelofer was conducted, which revealed that she illegally allowed those persons to join their duties who had fake appointment orders in 2012-13 with the connivance of former directors of schools education.

Besides, it was stated that during her posting as assistant district education officer of Keamari Town, she was found involved in misappropriation of school management committee funds.

However, petitioner Nelofer submitted in the petition that she was illegally removed from the post on July 8 as there was no inquiry, complaint or any other proceedings pending against her.

The woman education officer said she was removed merely on the basis of allegations.

She asked the court to declare the notification of her removal from the post as illegal and direct the provincial authorities to allow her to resume as district education officer.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2014