Pak SC rejects Imran Khan govt's appeal against ECP's decision to hold re-polling in NA-75 Daska

ANI
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Islamabad [Pakistan], April 2 (ANI): The Pakistan Supreme Court on Friday rejected the ruling government's appeal against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) directives to conduct re-polling in the entire NA-75 Daska constituency.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, had taken up an appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Ali Asjad Malhi challenging ECP's February 25 order for re-election in the entire constituency, reported Dawn.

In the order, Justice Bandial said the court had taken the decision in light of the law, the Constitution and its own jurisdiction while remarking that guidelines would be issued to prevent similar incidents.

Malhi later told the media that the PTI would think about filing a review petition after the release of detailed judgment. "We are confident about beating the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz)."

Reacting to the news, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz took to Twitter to say that it was once again proven that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his 'false' government had tried to rob the votes of the people of Daska.

"A re-election will not suffice. These robbers will have to answer for stealing the people's votes and kidnapping the ECP staff," she tweeted while congratulating party workers who stood against those 'stealing votes'.

During Friday's hearing, ECP's counsel Mian Abdul Rauf argued that the commission's directives did not mention "organised rigging" and were based on violations of the law, while PTI lawyer Shehzad Shaukat called for the punishment of all those responsible for the disappearance of presiding officers, reported Dawn.

The NA-75 by-election, held earlier in February, was marred by violence after clashes between voters and police broke out in multiple places, including polling stations and a police station at several times during the day.

At least two people were killed and three others injured in a firing incident at a polling station. One of the victims was reportedly a member of Prime Minister Imran Khan's PTI while the other belonged to the PML-N.

The ECP had ordered re-election on February 25 on March 18 after suspicions that the results of the by-poll were falsified. The commission also ordered the suspension of several senior police officers including the Sialkot police commissioner.

The commission later changed the date of the re-election from March 18 to April 10 after the Punjab government sought time to fill the vacant positions of administrative officers, Dawn reported.

One of the main accusations regarding the Daska by-election hurled by the PML-N at the ruling party was that 20 presiding officers had "gone missing" with the ballot boxes during the by-poll, reported The News International. (ANI)