ISLAMABAD: Announcing its brief judgment on the plea filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) against alleged rigging in PS-114 by-elections and seeking vote recount, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dismissed the party’s plea and directed it to approach the election tribunal on the matter.
The ECP also declared the stay on issuance of a notification with regard to Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP)’s candidate Saeed Ghani’s victory in the PS-114 by-election as void.
Previously on July 13, the election commission had restrained the returning officer from issuing the notification of Ghani’s victory in PS-114 by-elections after taking up MQM-P’s petition.
MQM-P had filed a petition seeking recount of votes in the constituency and verification of the thumbprints while alleging the polls were rigged by the PPP.
Talking to media after the hearing, Saeed Ghani said that the by-polls results come as no surprise for the victorious party since it has strong vote base in the constituency. “It was shocking for MQM, [as] they thought to win and had spent so much money,” he added.
He said it’s surprising for him to receive felicitations first by MQM-P and rigging allegations after three days. “They remember that tampering took place after three days,” he added.
Talking to media, MQM-P chief Dr Farooq Sattar deplored the ECP’s judgment.
On Wednesday’s hearing, MQM’s counsel Farogh Naseem told Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan that rules were violated during counting of votes in 21 polling stations of the constituency.
He lamented that the returning officer did not issue a notice to his client at time of vote counting.
Saeed Ghani’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan contended that people were voting for PPP after MQM had cut ties with its founder, Altaf Hussain.
On July 9, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Saeed Ghani had emerged victorious in PS-114 Karachi by-polls, by bagging 23,840 votes, unofficial and unconfirmed results from all 92 polling stations suggested.
Ghani was followed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Kamran Tessori, who secured 18,106 votes.
In the May 2013 general elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Irfanullah Marwat had won the PS-114 seat after defeating MQM candidate Rauf Siddiqui.
Siddiqui had challenged the results of elections in the constituency before the election tribunal and sought verification of the votes to dig out illegalities during the election process.
Upon his request, the tribunal had directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to carry out verification of 92,731 votes polled in the constituency.
NADRA’s report disclosed that 17,504 of the polled votes were bogus as they were either cast by someone else or had invalid national identity card numbers. Following the NADRA’s report, election tribunal ordered for holding re-election in the constituency.
Supreme Court of Pakistan on May 11 this year upheld the election tribunal’s verdict of holding re-election in Sindh Assembly constituency PS-114 in Karachi.