KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shahbaz Sharif‘s request for recounting of votes in NA-249 was rejected by the returning officer (RO) of the constituency on Friday.
In a first-ever contest seeing a top leader of the PML-N in Karachi’s electoral arena, Mr Shahbaz, according to unofficial results, has lost to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Faisal Vawda with a narrow margin of 718 votes.
PML-N leader Rana Mashood had filed the request on behalf of Mr Sharif with the returning officer of NA-249 from where PTI candidate Wadya has been unofficially declared elected with 35,344 votes. Mr Sharif emerged as the runner-up as he bagged 34,626 votes and Mufti Abid Mubarak of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan secured the third position by obtaining 23,981 votes.
In his application requesting for recounting of the votes, Mr Mashood said that Mr Vawda had won the seat with a the winning margin of only over 600 votes while over 3,000 votes were rejected during the counting.
Similar application of Yousuf Raza Gilani meets same fate, but such pleas of his sons accepted
Commenting on the decision of the RO, Mushahidullah Khan, a senior leader of the PML-N, said had the election process been fair and transparent, the returning officer would have accepted Mr Shahbaz’s request for recounting of votes, instead of ‘summarily’ rejecting his application.
It appeared that in many constituencies PML-N candidates were in winning position but they had been ‘defeated through rigging’ and now their applications for vote recount were being rejected “under pressure”, Mr Khan alleged. He said that the PML-N would file an appeal with the election commission against the decision of the RO whose behaviour “has proved that the party is not being provided a level playing field”.
As the process of filing of appeals for vote recount by losing candidates in Elections-2018 began on Friday, a number of applications for recount were filed in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The returning officers of two National Assembly constituencies in Lahore allowed applications of PML-N leader Khwaja Saad Rafiq and Abdul Aleem Khan of the PTI for holding recount in their respective constituencies — NA-131 and NA-129.
PTI chairman Imran Khan has won NA-131 against Mr Rafiq while the PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has defeated Aleem Khan in NA-129. Both runner-up candidates Mr Rafiq and Mr Khan have alleged discrepancies in the vote count process.
Meanwhile, the RO for PP-162 issued a notice to returned candidate Yasin Sohail of the PML-N on another identical application of Aleem Khan, who has lost from the provincial assembly constituency.
In Faisalabad, former minister Abid Sher Ali (NA-108), former MPA Malik Nawaz (PP-110), former MNA Dr Nisar Jutt of the PTI (NA-106) and Masood Nazir, an independent candidate (NA-105), filed applications for vote recount.
In Multan, the returning officer for NA-158 rejected former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s application for recounting/re-examination of ballot papers.
The ROs for NA-154 and NA-157, however, accepted similar applications submitted by Abdul Qadir Gilani and Ali Musa Gilani, sons of the former premier. The recount will be held in the presence of all the candidates on Saturday.
In Sahiwal, Mian Farrukh Manika of the PTI retained his winning position in PP-191, Pakpattan, after a recount.
Muhammad Tufail Jutt of the PML-N, a runner-up in NA-149 Chichawatni filed an application for a recount and the RO decided to take up the application on Monday.
Mian Tufail Jutt has been defeated by Rai Murtaza Iqbal of the PTI. Mr Iqbal obtained 137,236 votes against 111,552 of Mr Jutt.
In Okara, the RO rejected the application filed by the PTI’s Chaudhry Muhammad Abdullah Tahir for recount in PP-188.
From PP-190, the PTI’s runner-up Rai Hammad Aslam Kharal submitted an application for a recount and the RO issued notices for Saturday to all the 13 candidates, including the winner.
In Gujrat, PTI candidate for NA-71 (Sara-i-Alamgir-Kotla) Muhammad Ilyas Chaudhry filed an application for a recount after the seat was won by Abid Raza Kotla of the PML-N.
The returning officer fixed Saturday to listen to both the parties after which a decision would be made.
In Jhang, the RO fixed Saturday for recount of NA-114 votes on the application of Faisal Saleh Hayat.
The recount applications of the PTI’s Muhammad Nawaz Bharwana (PP-127) and independent candidate Madhu Lal Hussain (PP-129) were also accepted.
In Gujranwala, PTI candidate for PP-54 Rizwan Aslam Butt submitted his application for recounting of votes and the returning officer summoned the contesting parties on Saturday.
In Toba Tek Singh, PTI candidate from in NA-112 Chaudhry Muhammad Ashfaq submitted a similar application.
In Mansehra, the retuning officer of NA-13 ordered recounting of votes on the application of the losing aspirant of the PML-N, Sardar Shahjehan Yousuf.
In Haripur, PML-N candidate for NA-17 Babar Nawaz submitted an application for recounting and the decision on his application will be made by the RO on Monday.
In Abbotabad, PTI candidate from NA-15 Ali Asghar has submitted application for recounting. In Mardan PTI candidate Muhammad Atif Khan has submitted an application for recounting on NA-21 which has been won by Awami National Party candidate Amir Haider Khan Hoti.
Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018