PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by MNA Ghazi Gulab Jamal and upheld decision of an election tribunal of holding re-polling in two polling stations in National Assembly constituency of NA-39 Orakzai Agency.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mohammad Daud Khan also dismissed an appeal filed by the runner-up in the said constituency, Jawad Hussain, seeking verification of votes polled in all polling stations. The bench also upheld the tribunal’s order to reexamine around 295 of the rejected votes.

The petitioner Ghazi Gulab Jamal, who is a former federal minister, had secured 7922 votes against 7726 votes received by Jawad Hussain, a PPP candidate, in the May 2013 general elections.

Jawad Hussain had challenged the election of Ghazi Gulab Jamal before an election tribunal on grounds of massive rigging in polls. The election tribunal comprising judge Ziauddin Khattak had last year ordered re-polling in polling station No 12 and 13, meant for internally displaced persons of Orakzai Agency.

Also rejects plea for verification of votes cast in Orakzai polls

The bench had reserved its judgment few days ago and pronounced the verdict on Thursday.

The counsel for Jawad Hussain had contended that they had proved through evidence that rigging had taken place in the said two polling stations. They stated that in the said stations around 2060 votes were declared invalid as those could not be verified. They added that on the basis of the said two stations it was proved that rigging had taken place in all the polling stations.

The counsel said the election tribunal turned down their request for verification of all the votes despite the fact that it was proved that rigging had taken place in the two sample polling stations. They requested the court to set aside the order of the tribunal and order verification of votes in all the polling stations.

The counsel for Ghazi Jamal contended that the tribunal had erred in ordering re-polling in the said two stations as his client’s rival candidate could not proved the charges of rigging. He contended that it could not prove that the MNA had adopted any illegal practices for winning the said seat.

REPLIES SOUGHT: The bench sought replies from the federal interior ministry and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial police officer (PPO) in a writ petition filed by a contractor, Arshid Majeed, who is black-listed due to his involvement in a high profile weapons procurement scam.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Mudassir Amir, said his client was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in the weapons procurement case wherein then PPO Malik Naveed had also been arrested.

He said his client had cooperated with the NAB and after his voluntary return application was accepted, he provided vital evidence against the accused in the case.

The lawyer said his client had also recorded statement before judicial magistrate in which he had named the beneficiary of the weapons scam.

He added that instead of rewarding him, the government had now blacklisted his client’s company at national level, which was an injustice to him.

Barrister Mudassir said the act of the government was in violation of sections 25 and 26 of the National accountability Ordinance 1999 as once a person application of voluntary return was accepted he could not be penalized.

The petitioner was awarded lucrative contracts during 2009-10 by the police department allegedly after receiving kickbacks from him by different officials.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2015

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