LAHORE: While the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s official election result from NA-130 (Lahore) was issued on Friday night after his victory speech on behalf of his party, following an 18-hour delay, the returning officer (RO) concerned proceeded on “medical leave”.

The Lahore deputy commissioner on Friday wrote a letter to the Provincial Election Commissioner, seeking exemption from further election duty for the NA-130 RO.

The letter of the DC, who is also acting as district returning officer (DRO), states that Mr Muhammad Asghar has been working as RO of NA-130.

It says the RO faced a severe medical condition and had been shifted to hospital, requesting that Mr Asghar be relieved from election duty on medical ground.

The DRO also proposed that Riaz-ud-Din presently working as assistant RO of the same constituency, might be posted as RO of the NA-130.

As per another letter surfacing on Friday, Mr Asghar had written to the Lahore DRO on Feb 8 (Thursday) at 6am, that he needed to proceed on medical leave.

“I am having a severe chest pain and congestion which seems to be angina. Therefore, I am proceeding to Punjab Institute of Cardiology and cannot continue office anymore,” the RO reportedly stated.

In his leave application, Mr Asghar also authorised NA-130 ARO Riaz-ud-Din to look after the conduct of general elections on his behalf during his absence, along with other functions, including compilation of results.

On the other hand, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) could not get authentic result of a major electoral contest in Lahore -- Nawaz Sharif vs PTI central Punjab president Dr Yasmin Rashid.

While an alleged picture of NA-130 Form-47 continued circulating on social media, carrying several mistakes, including calculation of figures, the ECP could upload the constituency’s election result at 8pm on Friday – some 18 hours after the deadline of 2am.

As per Form-47 results, main contender Nawaz Sharif bagged 179,310 votes, while PTI nominee Dr Yasmin Rashid got 104,485 votes.

Of 608,318 voters in NA-130, as many as 319,043 voters (52.45 per cent) exercised their right to franchise. as many as 3,336 votes were cancelled in the constituency.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2024

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