NA-249: PML-N wants ECP to place election material under Army’s supervision

PML-N submitted an application to the chief election commissioner asking him to place election material, including ballot papers, under the supervision of the Army or Rangers.

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The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday continued their war of words over the outcome of recently-held by-election on a National Assembly seat (NA-249) in Karachi as the latter submitted an application to the chief election commissioner (CEC) asking him to place election material, including ballot papers, under the supervision of the Army or Rangers.

The application was submitted by Miftah Ismail, the PML-N candidate in the constituency, after the PPP “welcomed” the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to stay announcement of official results for a recount, and asked the PML-N not to accuse the party of winning the seat with the support of the “establishment”.

The leaders of the two parties, in their statements, however, continued to attack each other with the allegations of having a covert support of the “establishment”.

PPP candidate Qadir Mandokhail had won the NA-249 by-election in Karachi by a small margin after securing 16,156 votes, while Dr Ismail had secured second position with 15,473 votes, according to provisional results released on Friday. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PML-N had cried foul and subsequently rejected the results.

In his application to the CEC with the subject “safe custody of ballot papers and other materials”, Mr Ismail of the PML-N stated “most of the polling staff/presiding officers were from the provincial government of Sindh and they favoured the ruling party in illegal manner as complained by almost every contesting candidate/parties”.

NA-249 by-polls

NA-249, Karachi West II, was created in 2018 by amalgamating areas that previously fell in two NA constituencies (NA-239 and NA-240) during three general elections held from 2002 to 2013. The seat had fallen vacant after PTI’s Faisal Vawda resigned over his dual nationality controversy and became a senator.

On the other hand, the ruling party’s Amjad Afridi with 8,922 votes.  PTI has rejected the results of the by-election.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the PPP’s conduct over a single seat has highlighted the need for electoral reforms. “Once again I urge the opposition to consider Prime Minister Imran Khan’s suggestion.

The voting percentage shows that the people are losing faith in the process.”

Federal Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi claimed it was “obvious the crooked PPP and the provincial election commission were hand in glove in this mess!”

ECP intervenes

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday stayed the process for consolidation of result in NA-249 (Karachi) constituency and fixed May 4 as the date for hearing of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Dr Miftah Ismael’s application seeking a recount of votes.

“Commission is satisfied that prima facie case exists for intervention, and therefore stays the consolidation process and direct the office to fix the application for recounting of votes for hearing before the Commission on 04.05.2021 with notice to the contesting candidates,” read the order passed by a two-member bench of the ECP.

Read more: “Strict Action”: Polls show a majority of people against TLP Actions

The ECP order stated the by-election for NA-249 was held on April 29 and the provisional result was announced the next day by the returning officer (RO).