PESHAWAR: Eleven candidates for the Feb 8 general elections have moved the election tribunals here, challenging their electoral defeats.

Of the petitioners, 10 were independent candidates belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, and one was a nominee of the Awami National Party.

Nine of the independents belong to Peshawar. They include former provincial ministers Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra (PK-79) and Kamran Khan Bangash (PK-82), former deputy speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Mahmood Jan (PK-72), former MNAs Sajid Nawaz Khan (NA-28) and Hamidul Haq (PK-80), former MPA Arbab Jehandad Khan (PK-74), former Peshawar district nazim Mohammad Asim (PK-78), and lawyers Ali Zaman (PK-73) and Malik Shahab (PK-75). One independent candidate (PK-95), Imran Khan, is from Kurram district.

ANP leader and former provincial minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain has also challenged his election defeat in Nowshera’s PK-89 constituency.

Independents backed by PTI claim their Forms-45 were tampered with

The Election Commission of Pakistan has notified two tribunals for Peshawar, comprising Justice Shakeel Ahmad and Justice Wiqar Ahmad.

The PTI leaders filed their election petitions through advocates Shumail Ahmad Butt, Ali Gohar Durrani, and Ali Azim Afridi.

In petitions, they insisted that following unprecedented and massive pre-poll rigging in various modes and forms, the general elections were held in their areas on Feb 8, 2024.

They added that after the polling time ended, the polled votes were counted, and duly-signed Forms 45 containing election results at a polling station were given away to their polling agents.

The petitioners claimed that those forms showed them election winners, but the relevant returning officers manipulated those results and declared their rivals returned candidates in Forms-47 issued later.

They added that Section 92 of the Election Act, which required candidates or their polling agents to be present during results compilation for provisional consolidation before the issuance of Form 47, was also violated.

The petitioners claimed that they were “on top” according to Forms 45 issued in their respective constituencies.

They claimed that following the issuance of Forms-45, they went to returning officers for the provisional consolidation of poll results, but they or their polling agents were denied entry to the premises from 9pm to 6am.

The petitioners said they were informed about their victory in the morning, but the votes polled by them were reduced, and other candidates were declared winners.

Former finance minister Taimur Saleem Khan claimed that the Form 45 vote count clearly showed him receiving 25,114 votes, with the runner-up candidate, Attaul Haq, having secured 5,188 votes and Jalal Khan standing fifth on the list, securing 1,619 votes.

He said he complied his poll results in tabular form on the basis of Form 45, which he received from the presiding officers by his polling agents.

Mr Taimur said in the morning, a bogus and manufactured Form 47 was issued, declaring that Jalal Khan, who was at No. 5, had won by getting 16,031 votes, whereas his [petitioner’s] votes were declared 11,495.

He said the manipulated Form 47 was officially not handed over to him, and he learned about it from the website of the ECP.

All petitioners claim that Forms-45 were massively tampered with in their respective constituencies. They added that the forgery was so clear that even with the naked eye, it was visible.

Meanwhile, ANP candidate Mian Iftikhar Hussain, a candidate in PK-89 Nowshera, alleged that massive rigging took place in his constituency in favour of the PTI-backed independent candidate, resulting in his defeat.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2024

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