LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday allowed an opportunity to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit replies on petitions seeking appointment of additional election tribunals in Punjab.

Justice Shahid Karim heard the petitions filed by PTI-backed independent candidates Advocate Salman Akram Raja and Rao Omar Hashim Khan, who were declared defeated in the general election from NA-128, Lahore and NA-139, Pakpattan, respectively.

A legal adviser to the ECP appeared before the court to seek time to file the replies to the petitions.

The judge observed that the matter pertained to public importance and could not be delayed for long, directing the ECP counsel to submit the replies by May 27.

The petitions contended that the ECP notified five election tribunals each for Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three for Balochistan, and one for Islamabad, pursuant to nominations sent by the chief justices of the respective high courts.

However, in Punjab, the ECP made a request to the LHC chief justice to nominate nine judges for appointment as election tribunals, the petitioner said. He said that initially, two of the judges nominated by the LHC were appointed as tribunals.

The petitions asked the court to order the ECP to appoint additional election tribunals in the light of the LHC recommendations for expeditious disposal of the petitions regarding the general election of 2024.

NOTICES: An election tribunal comprising a judge of the Lahore High Court on Thursday issued notices to the ECP and PML-N MPA Samiullah Khan on an election petition challenging the victory of the latter from PP-145, Lahore.

PTI-backed independent candidate Yasir Gilani filed the petition.

Mr Khan secured 42578 votes while Mr Gilani obtained 38262.

The petitioner alleged rigging in the election and asked the tribunal to set aside the victory notification of the respondent.

The tribunal also issued notices on another election petition against PML-N MNA Afzal Khokhar from NA-125, Lahore.

Ammar Bashir, an independent candidate, filed the petition.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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