ISLAMABAD: While the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to hold the local government (LG) elections in the capital on July 31, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging that its over 6,500 votes were transferred from the Union Council (UC) 42 to other local constituencies.

“I have around 400 family members in Jhangi Syedan but unfortunately my vote as well as those of my family members have been transferred from UC 42. Moreover, votes of the PTI panel which included councillors and youth members, have been transferred from the area.

“On the other hand, the votes of all PML-N local leaders are very much there in the list,” PTI’s Deputy Information Secretary Amir Mughal, who is going to contest election for the UC chairman, told Dawn.

He said in 2021 he came to know that a number of votes had been transferred from the area.

“As majority of votes were of my family and supporters and a new list had been prepared, I approached the ECP and filed an application to transfer the votes back to UC 42. The ECP transferred the votes and prepared a new list in which all our grievances were addressed. However, suddenly, the ECP has now decided that the old list will be used in the forthcoming local bodies elections,” he said.

Candidate for UC chairman urges IHC to restrain Election Commission from holding local govt polls on old voters’ list

Mr Mughal claimed that he had got the snapshots of the new list, prepared by the ECP, which showed that as per the applications all the votes had been re-transferred to UC 42.

“However, now the ECP has decided that the fresh voter list will not be used in the elections. I cannot understand why only the PTI supporters’ votes were transferred and all votes of the PML-N are still in the list,” he said.

Mr Mughal said he was quite confident that the IHC would look into it and seek an explanation from the ECP as to why only names of the PTI’s voters were transferred.

Replying to a question, he alleged that it was nothing but an attempt to rig the local bodies elections.

“According to the list dated May 10, 2022, there are 10,470 votes in UC 42 but the list issued on June 10 showed the number of only 3,800 votes in the UC. It is further disappointing that my whole panel’s votes have been transferred due to which the PTI will have fewer chances to win the election from UC 42,” he said.

According to the petition, the petitioner intended to contest for the slot of the UC 42 chairman.

However, the petition said his votes had been transferred to UC 41, Pind Paracha.

The petitioner contended that the federal government had recently increased the number of UCs in Islamabad through a gazette notification when the ECP had already issued the election schedule.

“Apart from the fact that the number of union councils has been increased from 50 to 101, the ECP issued a notification on April 22, 2022, whereby it started a periodical revision of electoral rolls and the revision of the electoral rolls is already under process and the final electoral rolls as per the notification will be published by August 12, 2022.”

The petition added: “In presence of these notifications whereby the electoral rolls have not been finalised and the federal government has increased the number of UCs, the ECP is not undertaking any delimitation process for increasing the number of UCs in Islamabad but instead has issued a notification dated June 2 announcing the schedule for the LG polls.”

The petition requested the court to set aside the June 2 notification, adding the ECP might be restrained from conducting the elections on the old voters list.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will hear the petition on Monday.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2022

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