ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to hold the National Assembly by-election for NA-75 in Daska on April 10, 2021. The apex court adjourned proceedings of the case for an unspecified period.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had ordered re-polling in the constituency after firing incidences involving workers of the PTI and the PML-N during polling resulted in a couple of people getting killed and others injured.
The bench said the court needed more time to decide the case. “At the moment, we are hearing Salman Akram Raja’s ,the PML-N candidate’s lawyer arguments. We have to hear the arguments of other parties to the case apart from Nosheen Ahmed PML-N candidate, said the court.
“The decision of the ECP to hold re-polling stands,” said Justice Umar Ata Bandial. “For the moment, we are postponing the decision to hold it on April 10.”
Salman Akram Raja presented a map of district Daska during the hearing of the case to which Justice Umar Ata Bandial had an interesting remark.
“You’ve prepared a lot of material in just a day’s time,” said the judge. In response, Raja pointed out there were 76 polling stations in Daska and that complaints of irregularities were reported in 34 of them.
“The ECP identified these 34 polling stations and even 20 presiding officers went missing,” he stated. “It is even said polling was delayed at 10 polling stations for quite some time,” said Justice Bandial. “The question is, who was behind such a move and why?”
The judge wondered whether the irregularities took place because one candidate was strong and the other had to resort to such measures to win.
Salman Raja informed the court that Nosheen’s father has won from Daska five times and her family has a lot of influence in the city. She was supposed to poll 46,000 votes while the PTI candidate was expected to poll 11,000 votes,” he added. Salman Raja said it was in the PTI candidate’s interest to mar the polls since its candidate did not stand a chance of winning the contest.
“PML-N workers initiated violent activities,” said Justice Bandial. “If the PML-N held sway in the constituency, why did it resort to such measures?”
The judge told the PML-N lawyer it was his responsibility to prove why polling should be held throughout the constituency when irregularities were reported in 23 polling stations.”Half of Daska’s polling stations reported irregularities,” replied Raja. “Seventy-six polling stations do not amount to half of Daska’s polling stations,” responded the judge.
“I apologise, 76 amount to one-third of the polling stations in the city,” Raja corrected himself. “There is a difference between half and one-third,” the judge said.
In response to a question from the judge, Raja said the presiding officers left the constituency in the usual manner, escorted by police. “However, their return was unusual; they all came together and were afraid,” said the PML-N candidate’s lawyer.