Tuesday Feb 23, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The returning officer of the NA-75 Daska by-election has submitted details of irregularities before the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja presided over a five-member bench meeting on Tuesday.
The commission was meeting after the results for the NA-75 Daska by-polls had been withheld due to violence and alleged voting fraud. The results will now be announced by the ECP after a proper inquiry.
The CEC had summoned Ali Asjad and Nosheen Iftikhar, both leading candidates belonging to the PTI and PML-N, respectively, to the federal capital for the hearing.
During the proceedings, PTI's candidate Ali Asjad Malhi appeared before the panel and vowed to accept the decision of the commission.
Raja said re-polling can be held in the constituency if the commission finds that the elections were not conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
Meanwhile, the returning officer (RO) submitted details of the irregularities during the by-polls.
Raja asked the RO if the administration cooperated with him, to which the RO replied in the affirmative.
The returning officer informed the ECP that there were 360 polling stations in the constituency and results from 305 polling stations were received by 2:45 am the next day.
He said the entry of votes into the Result Management System (RMS) from 337 polling stations had been completed by 3:30 am, adding that attempts were made to contact presiding officers after delays in the results of 20 polling stations, but no response was received from anyone except one officer.
The RO said that the polling stations were 30 to 40 kilometres apart, adding that he had received the results from three polling stations but could not register the result because of the crowd outside.
"We received the rest of the results on WhatsApp as candidates claimed that they had also received them through the messaging app. We, therefore, asked them to forward the results to us so that we could tally the data with the results of 17 polling stations," the RO said.
Four polling station results were clear, he said. However, some fingerprints of presiding officers were missing in the results of other polling stations.
The RO spoke about the firing incident during a clash between the PTI and PML-N workers, saying that the voter turnout reduced slightly after the firing. But there was no firing inside the polling station, he said.
The RO went on to say that only seven or eight presiding officers came back to give their written statements of the 20 officers who had disappeared.
During the hearing, the lawyer of PML-N played a video of the clash between PML-N and PTI on polling day, which claimed two lives.
The CEC has sought a complete record from PTI authorities till February 24.