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The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to withhold the notification of victory of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) Farrukh Habib, who had emerged as the winner from Faisalabad's NA-108 and remained so despite an earlier recount.

Justice Shahid Karim issued the directions on a petition filed by rival candidate, PML-N leader Abid Sher Ali, against Habib's victory.

Ali had approached the LHC earlier today after a notification issued by Returning Officer Shakeel Ahmed on Thursday showed that the PML-N leader had lost the poll by 1,201 votes to Habib, whose victory margin decreased by only 10 votes during the recount.

In his petition, Ali has alleged that bogus copies of Form-45 were drafted to ensure the PTI candidate's victory from NA-108.

He claimed that polling agents belonging to his party were expelled during the counting of ballots, and requested the court to issue orders for a second recount in the constituency

He urged the court to stay the notification of Habib's victory until the petition is decided.

After hearing all arguments, Justice Karim directed ECP to withhold the notification. The court also issued notices to the commission and other parties, seeking their responses by August 7.

Notification of PML-N candidate's victory halted

The same LHC judge also directed the ECP to withhold the notification of victory of PML-N candidate Hamid Hameed, who had won the election from NA-90 constituency of Sargodha.

PTI's Dr Nadia Aziz had filed a petition against Hameed's win by a lead of 8,000 votes.

She argued in her petition that the counting of votes at polling stations in the said constituency was flawed and that the RO had rejected her request for a recount.

She urged the court to issue orders for a recount and for the withholding of notification of her rival candidate's victory until the recount is completed.

Justice Karim ordered the ECP to stay the notification. The commission, RO and other parties were directed to submit replies to the notices issued to them by August 7.

Recount ordered in PP-123

While hearing a third such petition, the LHC ordered a recount in the Punjab Assembly constituency of PP-123 Pirmahal in Toba Tek Singh.

PML-N candidate Syed Qutub Shah had filed the petition after losing the July 25 election to PTI candidate Sonia.

Shah had argued in his petition that a total of 128,000 votes were cast in PP-123. From these, 4,500 votes were rejected. He also claimed that his party's polling agent was not issued Form-45 after the counting of votes on election day.

He alleged that the PTI candidate was made to win through rigging and the RO had rejected his request for a recount.

Admitting his petition, Justice Karim issued directions for a vote recount in the constituency.