Over a dozen petitions were filed in the high courts on Saturday, by several Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed candidates challenging the results of Thursday’s elections in their respective constituencies, announced by the returning officers (ROs) concerned.
Most of the election petitions were filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC), while two PTI-backed candidates moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the results, and at least three petitions were filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC).
The petitions in the LHC challenged victories of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz; Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) President Aleem Khan in different constituencies in Lahore.
PTI-backed Shoaib Shaheen and Ali Bukhari filed petitions in the IHC, against the results of the federal capital’s NA-47 and NA-48 constituencies, respectively. PTI Sindh President Haleem Adil Sheikh moved the SHC against NA-238 results and Arsalan Khalid against NA-248 results.
The petitions in the LHC requested the courts to set aside the Form-47 prepared by the Returning Officers (ROs) in their absence, hence depriving them of their right to witness consolidation process of the election’s results.
The runner-ups contended that the police officials at the whims of the ROs of different constituencies forcefully restrained them from witnessing the process of result’s consolidation. Their eviction from the ROs offices was a sheer violation of the fair electoral process.
The petitioners challenged the victories of Nawaz Sharif from NA-130, Maryam Nawaz from NA-119, Khawaja Asif from NA-71 Sialkot, Hamza Shehbaz from NA-118, Atta Tarar from NA-127, Saiful Maluk Khokhar from NA-126, Aleem Khan from NA-117 and in other constituencies.
On the five seats of the provincial assembly, the PTI’s backed independent candidates challenged the results of PP-169, PP-53, PP-47, PP-62 and PP-46 on same ground of being evicted from the ROs offices, depriving them of their right to witness the consolidation process of the election’s results.
On Friday, LHC Justice Ali Baqar Najafi restrained the authorities concerned from proceeding further on the results of NA-128 in absence of the petitioner, PTI-backed independent candidate Salman Akram Raja or his agent.
In Islamabad, PTI-backed Shoaib Shaheen told reporters on the IHC premises that they filed the petitions with the request for the immediate hearing of their petitions. "Today, I and Ali Bukhari have filed petitions. We have requested the registrar's office to schedule an immediate hearing,” he said.
According to the results announced a day earlier, independent candidate Raja Khuram Shehzad Nawaz won the election for NA-48 Islamabad-III by securing 69,699 votes. However, Bukhari claimed that he was winning in the initial results but later he had been declared as the runner-up with 59,851 votes.
A day earlier, Shaheen had slammed NA-47 results, where Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Tariq Fazal Chaudhry was declared victorious. Shaheen blamed the powers that be for “pressuring the returning officers.”
“Today, you are replaying the crime you committed in the past. Now the only hope left is the judiciary,” he said. “They took away our bat [PTI’s electoral symbol]. I had a lead of more than 50,000 votes, my opponents had a total of 40,000 votes polled.”
In the petition filed in the SHC, Haleem Adil Sheikh said that he received more than 71,000 votes in NA-238 constituency, but Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) candidate Sadiq Iftikhar was declared successful by changing the results in Form 47.
Arslan Khalid contended in his plea that he got 65,000 votes in NA-248 constituency according to Form 45 but the RO concerned declared MQM's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as successful in Form 47. He requested the court to suspend the Form 47 result.
Nawaz also challenged the electoral result of NA-15 Mansehra-II. In a writ petition, Nawaz stated that several areas of Manshera were facing difficulties in communication due to snowfall. The request mentioned that over 125 polling stations did not submit Form 45, yet the results were announced.
Meanwhile, the ECP ordered re-polling at those polling stations in NA-88, Khushab, PS-18, Ghotki, PK-90, Kohat, where the polling material was snatched or destroyed. The re-polling would be held on February 15, after which the results would be announced, according to a press release.
In a separate, press release, the ECP said that Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) leader had been summoned on complaint of slapping a police officer on the election duty. The press release added that issue was placed before the ECP, after which she had been summoned.