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‘Rigging’: ECP Declares NA-75 By-elections Null and Void

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By Our Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday declared by-polls held in NA-75 as declared and void ordered to hold polling again on March 18.

The PML-N had requested the ECP to hold polling in the Daska constituency as the February 19 election was marred by controversies.

The ECP had withheld the results after 20 presiding officers in the constituency went missing for several hours and top officials of the district administration were unavailable to the commission to answer its queries.

The electoral body heard the case over the objections raised by the opposition members and ruled that the by-elections were neither fair nor just.

The re-polling will be held on March 18. At least 360 polling stations will be set up in the constituency.

Sialkot’s NA-75 seat fell vacant after PML-N MNA Iftikharul Hassan Shah died of a heart attack in August 2020. He was also a member of the standing committees on Interior and Narcotics Control and National Food Security and Research.

Those contesting the by-election include PML-N’s Syed Nosheen Iftikhar and PTI’s Ali Asjad.

The voting was held from 8am to 5pm at polling stations across the constituency. Polling at some stations in Daska was halted after two people were killed and seven injured in a firing incident.

The next day, the results were withheld after the results of 20 polling stations were delayed.

PML-N’s Syed Nosheen Iftikhar, who was contesting the election, wrote a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and asked him to order a recount in all polling stations in Daska.

She claimed that the results of 335 polling stations came in Friday night, while the staff of 23 stations went missing. She said that a forensic audit of all Daska polling stations should be conducted.

ECP had also ordered an inquiry in the matter and asked Punjab IG to look into it.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he would ask the PTI candidate to request re-polling at 20 polling stations in Daska.

“Even though there is no legal compulsion to do so before ECP announces results, I would request our PTI candidate to ask for re-polling in the 20 polling stations opposition is crying hoarse over in the Daska NA-75 by-election,” PM Khan said in a Twitter post on February 22.