Verification of thumb impression of votes: SHC bars ECP from announcing PS-91 poll result

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday barred Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from announcing the result of provincial assembly seat (PS-91) after verification of thumb impression of votes cast at 24 polling stations of PS-9 Shikarpur constituency.

A division bench of SHC headed by Justice Faisal Arab also issued a notice to Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs through its Secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan, Election Tribunal Sukkur, rival candidate Zulfiqar Ali Khan Kamario on a petition of Agha Siraj Durrani, Speaker Sindh Assembly, against Election Tribunal’s judgment for verification of thumb of votes cast at 24 polling stations of PS-9 constituency.

The petitioner, Agha Siraj Durrani, speaker Sindh Assembly trough his counsel submitted that he secured 32,993 votes in the general elections 2013 and was declared winning candidate on provincial assembly seat (PS-9) in Shikarpur.

He said that that his rival candidate Zulfiqar Ali Khan Kamario, who lost seat to him with margin of 1729 votes, challenged the results of the election under Section 52 of the Representation of People Act 1976 before the Election Tribunal at Sukkur. He stated that runner candidate moved Election Tribunal Sukkur seeking verification of thumb impression of CNIC of votes cast at 24 polling stations of constituency from NADRA.

The petitioner through his counsel Rasheed A Rizvi told the judges that Election Tribunal allowed the application of losing candidate on 6 September 2013 and ordered for verification of votes cast at 24 polling stations.

He stated that tribunal, without taking into consideration his submission, ordered for verification of votes in haste. The petitioner said that expressing no trust in the head of the Sukkur tribunal for being a follower of Pir Pagara, who is the chief of the PML-Functional, he approached ECP seeking transfer of application against him from Sukkur Tribunal to another tribunal, but plea was dismissed by ECP.

While terming tribunal’s decision biased, he said that he had expressed such apprehension earlier, which were proved with this order. The petitioner prayed to the court to set aside the order passed by Election Tribunal Sukkur and direct it to act strictly in accordance with law.

The division bench ruled that while giving effect to impugned order, result shall not be announced till next date of hearing.

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