MUZAFFARGARH: The process of vote recount in the Punjab Assembly constituency PP-269 could not be held at Sardar Kourey Khan Public School here on Thursday to the chagrin of independent candidate Iqbal Khan Pitafi, who had lost the contest to the PPP candidate (now MPA) Mian Alamdar Abbas Qureshi.

After loosing the contest by a slight margin, Iqbal Pittafi had approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for vote recount.

The ECP, on Pitafi’s request, had ordered vote recount on March 14 (Thursday) at Sardar Kourey Khan Public School, summoning all the 33 candidates from the constituency for the purpose.

However, only Mr Pitafi reached the venue on Thursday, along with his supporters, who chanted slogans against the government when the recounting process was not started.

An official requesting anonymity said that the vote recount could not be held as MPA Alamdar Abbas Qureshi had sent his medical certificate stating as he was not well he could not attend the process.

However, sources say Mr Qureshi has also filed a plea with the Supreme Court of Pakistan, after objection to his writ in LHC Multan Bench, against the vote recount in PP-269. Sources say that on Wednesday, PPP MPA Alamdar Qureshi had moved Islamabad High Court after objections to his plea in the LHC bench.

Meanwhile, in a video statement, Mr Patafi said the ECP had ordered that the vote recount would be held on March 14 at 11am, regretting that “despite the presence of most of other candidates (except Mr Qureshi) or their lawyers”, the process was not started. He said their was no legal documents barring the vote recount process, adding that Mr Qureshi’s writ had been thrown out by the LHC Multan bench.

Pitafi demanded the recount process should be started immediately as per the ECP orders.

On the other hand, MPA Alamdar Qureshi has also moved an application with the to returning officer concerned seeking to vote recount in all the polling stations of PP-269, instead of only seven sought by his rival Pitafi.In the Feb 8 general elections, PPP’s Alamadar Qureshi had won by securing 34,582 votes, defeating Iqbal Pitafi who got 33,082 votes.

Mr Patafi’s lawyer Basir Khan Sikhani said as the vote recount was ordered by the ECP, it is illegal to stop the process.

He alleged that his client had been shown defeat by just around 1000 votes by “changing results”.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2024

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