NA-47 candidate challenges rival’s victory notification in IHC

Published February 13, 2024
Advocate Shuaib Shaheen, a PTI-backed candidate from NA-47 of Islamabad. — X/@advshoaib66
Advocate Shuaib Shaheen, a PTI-backed candidate from NA-47 of Islamabad. — X/@advshoaib66

ISLAMABAD: After the Election Commission of Pakistan notified the victory of PML-N candidate Tariq Fazal Chaudhry from NA-47, his opponent Shuaib Shaheen, a PTI-backed candidate, moved the Islamabad High Court against the ECP notification, citing ‘mala fide’ intent.

The plea is likely to be heard today, whereas another PTI-backed candidate Ali Bukhari from NA-48 is also likely to approach the high court today.

Advocate Mohammad Shuaib Shaheen, who contested polls from NA-47, petitioned before the IHC, hours after the election watchdog issued its notification for Islamabad’s three constituencies: NA-46, NA-47, and NA-48. As per the ECP’s notification Anjum Aqeel Khan from NA-46, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry from NA-47 and Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz from NA-48 have been declared candidates returned to the National Assembly.

Interestingly, the notification dated Feb 11 was issued on Feb 12, whereas the ECP issued a status quo order on Feb 11. In his petition, Mr Shaheen contended that the ECP stopped the consolidation of the result for his constituency on Feb 11 after he pointed out “anomalies in the counting process”. He also claimed to have Form-45 of all the polling stations to prove his victory over Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, who was declared victorious by the ECP.

The PTI-backed candidates Shaheen, Mohammad Ali Bukhari, and Amir Mughal were defeated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Anjum Aqeel, and independent candidate Raja Khurram Shehzad. As per the details of Form-47 for the NA-47, PML-N’s candidate Tariq Fazal Chaudhry bagged 102,502 votes against PTI’s candidate Mohammad Shuaib Shaheen, who took 86,396 votes only.

Shaheen accuses ECP of ‘mala fide’ intent, says result ‘finalised in his absence’

In NA-48, Raja Khurram Shehzad, who was the joint nominee of the PML-N and the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) contested the elections as an independent candidate. He defeated Mr Bukhari by securing 69,699 votes against Ali Bukhari’s 59,851 votes. He joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz after the election.

Initially, Ali Bukhari and Shuaib Shaheen had filed petitions in the IHC a day after the elections, but their petitions were returned by the registrar’s office with objections. The IHC registrar had asked them to approach the relevant forum. Subsequently, the candidates filed an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The ECP after a preliminary hearing issued notices to the returning officers of the NA-47 and NA-48 constituencies and also issued a conditional stay order according to which further process was stopped if the results were not consolidated.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Shaheen said that the conduct of the ECP showed “mala fide intent” as the commission issued a restraining order but later violated this itself. He said that the result of NA-47 was withheld as he was leading from all polling stations of the NA-47 constituency.

He claimed that he had sufficient evidence and Form 45 to substantiate his claim that he defeated his opponent Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

“I was told that the consolidation of results of my constituency has been stopped and I returned from the ECP on Sunday; how can the results be finalised in my absence,” he questioned. He expressed hope that the IHC would consider his contention and that an appropriate order would be issued in the interest of justice.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2024

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