KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday suspended an order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) about the recount of votes of candidates on a provincial assembly seat, PS-112 (Keamari-II).

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed independent candidate Sirbuland Khan had secured 16,287 votes and won the election against Pakistan Peoples Party aspirant Asif Khan who got 10,784 votes.

The ECP had on April 1 ordered recounting of votes of 26 polling stations in the constituency.

An ECP official told Dawn that the recounting of votes was conducted on April 4 and PPP’s Asif Khan had emerged victorious.

In the meantime, the PTI candidate challenged the recounting order of the ECP before the SHC.

Advocate Ali Tahir argued that the petitioner had won the seat and had already taken oath as an MPA. Despite this, the ECP had ordered the returning officer (RO) for a recount on an application of rival candidate Asif.

The counsel submitted that the ECP had further asked the RO to complete the recounting process within three days and prepare Form-49 accordingly.

He stated that under Section 95(6) of the Election Act, 2019 the ECP had no jurisdiction to recount the votes after consolidation of the results.

After a preliminary hearing, a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi ordered, “Let pre-admission notices be issued to respondents as well as advocate general Sindh and deputy attorney general, to be served through first three modes, for 18.04.2024, when comments/reply, if any, shall be filed with advance copy to the learned counsel for petitioner. In the meanwhile, the operation of the impugned order shall remain suspended till the next date.”

The ECP official told Dawn that the matter would be examined on Monday in view of the court’s interim order.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2024

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