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Judgment reserved on Ahsan’s plea

December 14, 2002

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 13: The Election Commission of Pakistan, after hearing the counsels of both parties reserved its judgment on the complaint of Ahsan Iqbal, PML-N candidate from NA 117.

The Election Commission had been directed by the Supreme Court that the entire Commission should sit and decide the complaint of Ahsan Iqbal, who alleged that his opponent, Riffat Javed, a PML-QA candidate, was openly supported by her husband who was District Nazim of Narowal.

The counsel for the complainant stated that after returning officer’s report, endorsing the allegations of rigging, the Election Commission should declare the election void and order fresh poll in the constituency.

The counsel for Riffat Javed pleaded that the EC was not competent to hear the case. The Chief Election Commissioner, however, observed that under section 103 AA of People Representation Act, the matter fell within the purview of the Commission and the counsel should argue the case on merits.

Akram Shaikh maintained that after the report of the concerned returning officer to the EC, in which all allegations in the complaint of Ahsan Iqbal have been endorsed, there was enough ground to declare the election void in NA 117 as the right of the people to freely exercise their vote was hijacked at gunpoint.

He read from the report of the returning officer which stated that before noon on the election day reports had started coming in about PML-QA supporters’ illegal activities. The election commission after hearing the counsels for both parties, reserved its judgment.