MUZAFFARGARH: The recount of votes of some polling stations of PP-269 lingered on further on Saturday as the returning officer refused to join the process for being unwell.

Two days back, the recount could not be held because of the health issue of winning candidate Mian Alamdar Abbas Qureshi of the PPP who had claimed that he was not well and could not attend the recounting.

On Saturday, the recounting was to be held at the Sardar Kourey Khan Public School but the returning officer (RO of PP-269, Raheel Ahmad, the district food controller, sent a medical certificate, saying he was unwell and could not do the recount.

He sent a mail to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), saying he was suffering from some disease and was not fit to attend the recount. District returning officer Deputy Commissioner Mian Usman Ali said he was waiting for the decision of the ECP for further instructions.

Losing candidate’s supporters climb electric pole, try self-immolation; protests disturb schoolchildren

After delay of the votes recount yet again on Saturday, independent candidate Iqbal Khan Patafi along with the supporters held a protest outside the school while some of his workers climbed an electric pole in a bid to commit suicide while others tried to self-immolate sprinkling themselves with petrol.

Pitafi claimed that RO Raheel Ahmad was pressured by Qureshi.

Six protesters climbed the pole in front of the school where hundreds of supporters of Pitafi had gathered.

The protesters climbed the pole holding petrol bottles in their hands and wearing burial shrouds in an apparent attempt to commit suicide.

The Mepco officials shut the power supply while the protesters kept sitting on the pole for hours. Police and Rescue 1122 officials requested the youngsters to climb down of the pole.

On the other hand, the supporters of the PPP MPA gathered at the Katcheri Chowk and held a demonstration in favour of their leader. They said he was their only MPA in the Dera Ghazi Khan division that’s why he was being targeted by some elements.

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had ordered the returning officer to recount the specific polling stations on March 14 but Alamdar Abbas Qureshi did not come. He was absent again on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the students of the Kourey Khan Public School complained against the disturbance caused by police and protesters who had been holding protests in front of their school for the last three days.

The protest occupied their school gate where hundreds of protesters gathered while hundreds of students of class one to FSC were studying. The exam of class 10 is being held by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Board (BISE) Dera Ghazi Khan.

The parents of students said if the recounting was planned to be held at the school, the school administration should announce a holiday.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2024

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