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PESHAWAR: Provincial president of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohammad Humayun Khan on Friday moved the Peshawar High Court seeking orders for the relevant returning officer for vote recount or re-election in his provincial assembly constituency, PK-18 Malakand-I, over the alleged election rigging.

In the petition, he alleged that massive rigging had taken place in the July 25 election and that Form 45 carrying the number of votes counted at polling stations wasn’t issued to his polling agents and instead, they were expelled from polling stations before vote count.

Humayun Khan prayed the high court to declare void and illegal vote count, results consolidation and rejection of his application for vote recount by the returning officer and dismissal of his representation by the ECP for vote recount.

Seeks vote recount or fresh election in PK-18 Malakand

He requested the court to restrain the ECP from issuing final notification regarding the alleged successful candidate and direct the returning officer to recount votes or in alternative the whole election in PK-18 Malakand-I be repeated in the interest of justice.

According to provisional result issued by the returning officer, Shakeel Ahmad of PTI was elected by receiving 33,347 votes against 25,503 votes secured by Humayun Khan.

The petitioner said on the day of polling various irregularities were committed by the presiding officers, which were communicated to the relevant returning officer, but with no positive results.

He alleged that at the close of polling, agents of the petitioner were asked to leave polling stations so that votes might be counted by the officials.

The petitioner said his agents had resisted that move but were forcibly ousted from the polling stations.

He alleged that his polling agents after count of votes requested time and again for issuing the signed Form 45 to them, but they were neither allowed to participate in counting proceedings nor was Form 45 signed from them and that the results of count were submitted to the returning officer.

The petitioner said a complaint about it was made to the returning officer prior to the commencement of the results consolidation, but he turned a deaf ear to his plea and dismissed his application on Jul 28.

He said another application in form of an appeal was made to the ECP seeking directions for the returning officer to recount his votes but it was turned down on the plea that Form 49 (final consolidated results) had already been communicated to the commission and the petitioner should approach the proper forum to get his grievances redressed.

Mr Humayun told reporters that despite the passage of nine days after elections, he had still not been given the official results by the returning officer.

He said on the day of polling his polling agents and voters were not permitted to enter the station few hours before 6.00 pm, the closing hour, and during that duration the rigging had taken place.

He alleged that Form 45 related to the constituency of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha, who had contested election in Malakand’s NA and PA constituencies respectively, were also not given to their polling agents.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2018