SC suspends LHC verdict of vote recount in NA-131

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ISLAMABAD : The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a decision of the Lahore High Court to restrain the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from issuing the victory notification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan from NA-131, Lahore, and ordering the returning officer to hold a recount of all ballot papers.

During the proceeding on the appeal of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan against the decision, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar said that there is no need of any recounting in the constituency.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said that hearing such issue comes under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Earlier on August 06, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan challenged the Lahore High Court orders to recount votes in NA-131 in Supreme Court. The petition was filed by Imran Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan.

Imran bagged the seat by securing 84313 and the runner-up Saad Rafique secured 83633 votes with the difference of 780.

The LHC also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to restrain from issuing the notice of the success of the PTI chief until the process of the recount is completed. A Returning Officer had earlier dismissed the former railway’s minister’s plea of the recount of votes of the whole constituency.

The ECP then accepted Rafique’s application but only allowed scrutiny of rejected votes. However, Khan remained the winning candidate and the PML-N leader’s effort could not bear fruit, leading him to file a petition in the high court.

Challenging the LHC orders, the prime minister-in-waiting prayed to the Supreme Court that Rafique’s petition was inadmissible and the high court’s order was in contradiction with the law and the Constitution and hence must be declared null and void. Meanwhile, Khan’s party expressed serious concerns over delays in announcing election results of the constituencies, currently being challenged at different levels.

Withholding results of almost 20 constituencies due to administrative or legal reasons is extremely inappropriate, said a statement issued by PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry. “Votes in 48 constituencies have already been recounted,” it added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) withheld notification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s success in two constituencies.

The notification of Imran’s success in NA-53 (Islamabad) and NA-131 (Lahore) have been withheld, the ECP confirmed.

The notification of his success has been withheld as a case pertaining to ECP’s code of conduct is being heard against Imran Khan.

On July 25, ECP took notice of Imran Khan casting his vote in front of media members, which was in direct violation of the electoral body’s code of conduct. From NA-53 Islamabad, Imran defeated former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The PTI chief had received 92,891 votes while the PML-N leader managed to get 44,314 votes.

From NA-35 Bannu, MMA candidate Akram Durrani came second with 22,514 votes, while Imran won with 24,317 votes.

From NA-243 Karachi, Imran defeated his opponent from MQM-P Ali Raza Abidi with a heavy margin, where the former got 91,358 votes, while the latter only managed to receive 24,082 votes.

From his home constituency in Mianwali, NA-95, Imran defeated PML-N candidate Obaidullah Shadikhel. The PTI candidate won with 162,499 votes, while his opponent bagged merely 49,505 votes.

The toughest competition to Imran came from Lahore constituency NA-131 where he was up against PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique.