KARACHI: The Pak Sarzameen Party on Tuesday filed an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan asking it to declare the April 29 by-election on NA-249 constituency void and order re-polling.

PSP chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal, who was the party candidate from the National Assembly constituency in Karachi’s West district, cited the returning officer of the NA-249 as respondent and highlighting several pre- and post-polling violations.

PSP vice chairman Advocate Syed Hafeezuddin told reporters outside the ECP offices after filing the application that “evidence of blatant rigging in NA-249” was submitted to the ECP.

In the application, a copy of which is provided to Dawn, Mr Kamal questioned as to how the turnout was shown at 21 per cent when everyone including authorities pointed out an extremely low turnout right after polling ended due to hot weather and Ramazan.

He alleged that the Forms-45 was not provided to him or his agents on the day of polling. He said that the results of more than 100 polling stations were delayed for seven hours. He said on more than 30 polling stations the process of consolidation of results was still not done as such Forms-49 to this effect were not issued.

Mr Kamal blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government and Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government for committing election violations by supporting their candidate and offering financial assistance to voters through Insaf Card, Ehsaas programme and launching development projects, respectively.

He said that PPP candidate Qadir Khan Mandokhail enjoyed the support of district administration and police.

The former Karachi mayor mentioned an incident in which the central election office of the PSP was attacked by “PPP workers” who allegedly resorted to aerial firing but police and district administration failed to maintain order and Rangers were called in to address the situation.

He maintained the Section 15 and 16 of the ECP’s code of conduct specifically prohibited the display, use of all kind of weapons/arms, but in NA-249 armed supporters of the PPP candidate followed him in a vehicle.

He said that the PPP and PTI both violated Section 17 of the code of conduct as their elected representatives openly participated in the election campaign.

He asked the ECP to take notice of the reported violations and act under Section 9-(1) read-with 4(3) of the Election Act, 2017 and declare the April 29 by-election in NA-249 as vide and order fresh polls / re-poll in the entire constituency.

According to provisional results, PPP’s Mandokhil won the election by securing 16,150 votes. PML-N’s Miftah Ismail got 15,473 votes followed by Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan’s Mufti Nazeer Kamalvi (11,125), PSP’s Mustafa Kamal (9,227), PTI’s Amjad Iqbal Afridi (8,922) and Hafiz Mursaleen of the MQM-P (7,511).

Earlier on Tuesday, the ECP allowed recounting of votes, to be held on May 6, on an application of PML-N’s candidate.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2021

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