Tuesday Apr 06 2021
Web Desk

Daska: Amid rising coronavirus cases, is NA-75 ready for by-polls?

Web Desk

After considerable delays and controversies, the NA-75 Daska by-polls are set to take place on April 10, 2021. But unlike the previous time, the elections will be held under the threat of a rising number of coronavirus cases in the city.

According to official statistics released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the rate of coronavirus positivity has reached 21 % in Sialkot, while 191 people have succumbed to the virus.

Many areas also have smart lockdowns imposed therein. Under such conditions, only time will tell how conducive the environment will be for the by-election.

What controversies surrounded the Daska by-polls?

After a full-fledged election campaign between the PML-N and the PTI in NA-75, the by-polls were initially held on February 19, 2021. Supporters of both parties showed a lot of enthusiasm, so much so that it turned into chaos. 

In addition to the chaotic situation outside of the polling booths, other controversies also surfaced. On the election night, 20 presiding officers failed to reach the office of the presiding officer and could not be contacted for the rest of the night. 

On the other hand, both PTI and PML-N candidates contesting the by-polls from the constituency claimed to be victorious even before the official results were announced.

PML-N's Nosheen Iftikhar approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and complained of rigging in 34 polling stations. On the other hand, PTI's Ali Asjad Malhi also approached the ECP with complaints against the PML-N. 

In view of the situation, the ECP  — on February 25 — declared the Daska by-polls null and void based on the suspicion of rigging and announced election against the will of the ruling PTI. 

To protest the decision, the PTI approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the decision of ECP to conduct the elections again. A three-member bench of the SC, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard seven appeals related to the case. Finally, on April 2, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the ECP and announced that by-polls will be held again on April 10.