KARACHI: Three Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidates, including its Sindh president Haleem Adil Sheikh, on Tuesday moved the Sindh High Court, seeking contempt proceedings against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not deciding their complaints against the provisional results of the Feb 8 general elections in the light of a court order.

Citing Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, four ECP members and the Sindh election commissioner as the alleged contemnors, the applicants submitted that they had not complied with the SHC order passed on Feb 13 regarding the election complaints of the applicants.

The PTI’s provincial chief submitted that he had contested election from NA-238 (Karachi East-VI) and as per Forms-45 obtained by his polling agents from the presiding officers at all the polling stations of the constituencies in question, he was leading with around 65,000 votes, but the results were changed at the office of the returning officer (RO) since he was shown as runner-up in the impugned Form-47/provisional result.

He stated that the ECP, ROs and others had flouted the electoral laws and rigged the entire process of the polls.

Two other PTI-backed candidates — Abbas Hasnain and Khalid Mehmood who contested the Feb 8 general elections from NA-247 (Karachi Central-I) and NA-231 (Karachi Malir-III) respectively — also filed identical applications and stated that as per From-45s, they were leading with big margins, but they were shown defeated in the impugned Form-47s/provisional results.

Says poll supervisory body dismissed their cases without resolving discrepancies in Form-45s and Form-47s as per SHC order

The applicants submitted that on Feb 13, the SHC disposed of around 50 identical petitions filed by the PTI-backed aspirants against the provisional results and ordered the ECP to decide the petitioners’ complaints through speaking orders before Feb 22.

They also stated that about the issues regarding consolidation of the results, the SHC had also directed the ECP to resolve the discrepancies in Forms-45 and Forms-47 (provisional results) after scrutinising the record available with the ECP or provided by the petitioners.

However, they submitted that the alleged contemnors had dismissed their complaints without speaking orders and passed the actual short orders on Feb 23, but put the date of Feb 21 on such orders to mislead the court.

The applicants also argued that the ECP had also not resolved the issue regarding discrepancies found in Forms-45 and Forms-47 while a false statement was filed before the SHC that the ECP had jurisdiction to decide such issue. But during a hearing in Islamabad, the ECP said it did not have such jurisdiction and the same could not be vested by the order of the SHC, they added.

They also contended that the alleged contemnors had committed deliberate and wilful contempt of the SHC’s Feb 13 order and rendered themselves liable to be proceeded and prosecuted for the contempt of court.

Barrister Ali Tahir said the ECP had rejected the complaints of around 50 candidates backed by the PTI and the remaining aspirants were also set to approach the SHC soon, seeking contempt proceedings against the alleged contemnors.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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