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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday dismissed former MNA Shahji Gul Afridi’s petition for vote recount in NA-43 Khyber constituency from where Noorul Haq Qadri of the PTI was elected in the July 25 polls.

Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Shakeel Ahmad observed that Noorul Haq Qadri had already been notified as winner of NA-43 election and therefore, the petition couldn’t be entertained.

On Tuesday, the court had issued a stay order against the issuance of the gazette notification of NA-43 winner and fixed the case for hearing on Wednesday.

PHC declares plea couldn’t be entertained after notification of winner

When the bench took up for hearing the petition, a representative of the Election Commission of Pakistan said the gazette notification had already been issued declaring Qadri the winning candidate and therefore, the petition was not maintainable.

The petitioner’s lawyer said the returning officer first ordered vote recount but later illegally withdrew the order over possible threat to public peace in the constituency.

Also, the bench dismissed a petition of Maulana Gohar Ali of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal for vote recount in PK-56 Charsadda constituency.

The petitioner has lost election by 220 votes to PTI nominee Khalid Khan.

The petitioner’s counsel said under the law, the returning officer had to conduct vote recount if the margin of votes between the winner and the runner-up was less than five per cent of the total votes cast.

He said the petitioner had secured 20,029 votes and Khalid Khan 20,247.

The ECP’s representative said once gazette notification was issued by the ECP, the only legal remedy with the petitioner was to move an election tribunal.

Similarly, the court dismissed two petitions of PTI leader Fareed Khan Toofan and another candidate Jawed Iqbal seeking vote recount in PK-85 Karak constituency from where an MMA candidate Mian Nisar Gul was declared election winner.

The petitioners’ counsel said the returning officer should have conducted vote recount as the margin of victory was less than five per cent of the total votes cast in the constituency.

However, the bench dismissed the petition due to the issuance of the gazette notification by the ECP on Aug 7.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2018