Wednesday Mar 10 2021

Supreme Court seeks ECP records on Sialkot's NA-75 Daska by election

  • Justice Sajjad Ali Shah observes that ECP has authority to take action without receiving a formal application. 
  • SC issues notices to ECP, PML-N candidate and all parties in case.
  • PTI had challenged ECP decision to hold re-polling for Sialkot's NA-75 Daska by-election in the Supreme Court.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) records regarding the Sialkot NA-75 Daska by election held on February 19, 2021.

The record has been sought by a bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, which is hearing a petition filed by the PTI candidate who stood for election in the constituency.

The petitioner wants that the ECP decision to order a re-election in the constituency be overturned.

During the hearing, Justice Bandial observed that the top court had ruled that elections should be free and fair.

Read more: After Daska incident, Nawaz Sharif's narrative once again echoing across Pakistan, says Maryam Nawaz

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah noted that the ECP has the authority to take action without receiving a formal application, but asked on what basis the ECP authorised a re-election in the whole constituency.

Upon hearing the judge's remarks, PML-N candidate Nausheen Iftikhar told the court that 23 presiding officers were “kidnapped” during the election.

At this, the court also sought information regarding the area where the firing incident took place in the constituency during, in which two persons were killed.

The court, while asking these questions, also directed the ECP to submit all records based on which the elections were declared to illegal.

Read more: ECP declares NA-75 polling void, orders fresh elections in entire constituency

The court observed that it will review the PTI candidate’s plea seeking a stay order on the upcoming by-election — scheduled for March 18 — after it reviews all records submitted to the court and the detailed order issued by the ECP on March 8.

The court issued notices to PML-N candidate Nausheen Iftikhar and other parties in the case and adjourned the hearing till March 16.

Rescheduling of by-election challenged

Last week, the PTI candidate, Ali Asjad Malhi, had challenged the ECP's decision to hold re-polling for Sialkot's NA-75 seat in the Supreme Court.

The re-polls are scheduled for March 18.

Read more: PM Imran Khan requests PTI candidate to 'ask for re-polling' in 20 polling stations

Malhi argued in his petition that the ECP did not properly review the available records, so the decision is contrary to the facts.

The petitioner said there was no justification for the order to hold a re-election in NA-75 Daska. 

Re-election meant that the people of the constituency will face a law and order situation again, he argued.

Asjad is additionally seeking that the election results of NA-75 Daska on February 19 to be released.

The by-election in NA-75 Daska was marred by chaos. Two people were killed during a violent clash between PTI and PML-N workers, while the ECP had taken notice of the disappearance of 20 presiding officers of the constituency late in the night. 

Based on the events that transpired that day, the ECP said the election was null and void. It was later rescheduled for March 18.