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LAHORE: The counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Dr Yasmin Rashid on Monday questioned the jurisdiction of an election tribunal comprising a retired sessions judge to hear a petition against victory of Kulsoom Nawaz in NA-120 by-poll.

The tribunal held the maiden hearing of the election petition moved by Ms Rashid, who had lost to Ms Kulsoom in the much-hyped by-poll in the National Assembly’s constituency from Lahore that had fallen vacant after the disqualification of former premier Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers case.

PML-N’s Ms Kulsoom had secured 61,745 votes while the PTI’s candidate bagged 47,099 votes.

Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, Advocate Anees Hashmi said a tribunal comprising sitting judge of the high court was the competent forum to hear election petitions under the new law “The Election Act 2017”.

The tribunal’s member, Shahid Rafiq, adjourned hearing till Nov 20 and asked the counsel to come up with more arguments on the jurisdiction issue.

Ms Rashid stated in her petition that verification of 29,607 votes in the constituency had not been carried out by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

She alleged that more than one votes were cast against one identity card in the by-poll and fake votes were also cast on behalf of deceased voters in the constituency.

The petitioner further pleaded that the election code of conduct was blatantly violated during the campaign by the party of the returned candidate.

She asked the ECP to declare the result of the by-poll null and void, besides declaring her (petitioner) returned candidate or order fresh poll in the constituency.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017