SC admits plea to stop re-polling at four polling stations

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted a plea against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision to conduct re-election in four polling stations of Balochistan Assembly constituency PB-9, Kohlu, and issued notices to the parties.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and comprising Justice Ayesha Malik and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan heard the petition of Nawab Changaiz Khan Marri against re-polling at four polling stations of PB-9, Kohlu.

During the course of hearing, Ali Zafar, counsel for the petitioner, appeared before the court and submitted that Nawab Changaiz won from this provincial constituency in the general elections of February 8. He informed the court that on the request of the opposition candidate Mir Naseebullah of the People’s Party, the ECP ordered re-polling at seven polling stations.

The counsel submitted that after the polling, Nawab Changaiz was declared successful and a notification of his victory was issued as well, adding that Changaiz also took oath as a member of the provincial assembly on February 28. Ali Zafar requested the court to suspend the decision of re-polling at four polling stations. Justice Ayesha Malik asked the counsel to give reasons as to why the order of re-polling should be suspended. Ali Zafar replied that polling could not be done in four polling stations of the constituency due to the law and order situation, but the ECP decided to re-poll in the said four polling stations after the notification of the successful candidate was issued. At this, Justice Ayesha Malik observed that after the notification of the successful candidates is issued, the role of the ECP ends, adding that the matter of all election disputes goes to election tribunals for adjudication. Justice Irfan Saadat Khan observed that if the ballot papers have been printed, then it will not be appropriate to stop the election. “Let’s find out from the ECP whether the ballot papers have been printed or not.” On a court query, the ECP counsel submitted that he had no information about the ballot papers. He requested for adjournment and said that he would get the information and will inform the court. The court accepted the request for adjournment. Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar said that if the election is held on April 24, the hearing will be held on the 21st or 22nd of April. Later, the court issued notices to the ECP, attorney general and other parties and adjourned the hearing until April 22.