ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday notified PML-N’s Raja Sagheer Ahmed as the winner after his victory in recently held by-polls in Punjab was challenged by the rival PTI.
A day after the July 17 elections, Mr Ahmed emerged as the winning candidate in Rawalpindi’s PP-7 constituency with a margin of just 49 votes, bagging 68,906 votes compared to 68,857 secured by the PTI candidate, Mohammad Shabbir Awan.
The PTI challenged the razor-thin victory margin, besides the delayed announcement of results and a high number of rejected votes, and sought a recount of votes rejected by the returning officer and the ECP.
Mr Ahmed was notified hours before the crucial election for Punjab’s chief minister on Friday and the development followed the overnight consolidation of results by the returning officer (RO), who was earlier restrained from doing so until the election commission passed an order on the recount plea.
Raja Sagheer secures 12 more votes; Shireen says commission clearly biased against PTI
The notification was issued after the scrutiny of rejected votes cast was hurriedly carried out and surprisingly led to a further increase in the votes of PML-N’s candidate by 12, from 68,906 to 68,918. The number of PTI candidate’s votes also increased by six to 68,863.
The ECP “has decided to leave no space for any doubt about its bias against PTI,” PTI leader Shireen Mazari tweeted after the notification. “The law requires a recount if the margin of win is 5pc or less than 5pc. In case of PP-7 that is the case. Critical also is the deliberate damage to ballots by RO staff’s wrong stamping.”
Earlier, in his petition filed with the ECP, PTI candidate Mr Awan listed alleged irregularities at 21 polling stations and claimed that even votes of deceased individuals had been polled in the constituency.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2022