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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Vote recounting in NA-249: Is PML-N’s Miftah Ismail going to snatch the seat from PPP’s Qadir Mandokhel?

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday said the vote recounting in the NA-249 constituency will continue despite a boycott by Pakistan People's Party (PPP). Who is going to win this controversial battle?

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday said the vote recounting in the NA-249 constituency will continue despite a boycott by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The ECP has clarified that according to the chief election commissioner’s order issued on the PML-N’s petition, commission is bound to recount only the votes that were polled and rejected.

“Despite the boycott, the recount process will be completed as per the order,” the ECP officials said. He added that political parties were demanding data which was not possible to retrieve.

All parties, except the PPP, have boycotted the recounting process, alleging that the polling bags were not sealed when brought for the recount and that officials refused to provide Form 45 and Form 46.

The vote recount hit a snag on Thursday when the candidates objected to the unsealed bags and came out of the DRO’s office in protest.

While talking to the media, PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail said the officials are not providing them Form 46 despite multiple requests. “When they brought the first bag, it was not sealed and on our complaint, they said it might have fallen somewhere. Only PPP’s candidate is sitting inside.” “Is this Hitler’s Germany?” he asked, adding that the party would again approach the ECP.

The PML-N leader also said they are not allowed to review signatures and count unused ballots.

‘Worst election in Karachi’s history’

Meanwhile, PTI candidate Amjad said the rights of the people of NA-249 have been stolen. “This was the worst election in Karachi’s history where people’s mandate was stolen,” he said.  He appealed to the Election Commission for justice.

The PTI leader said he had submitted the boycott application. “95% of the presiding officers were from the education department,” he alleged.

‘Our contest was with TLP’

On the other hand, PPP’s Qadir Mandokhel has accused the ECP of being partisan and said defeat has become the destiny of the PML-N. “Our contest was with the TLP. All parties, including the independent candidates, are inside [the returning officer’s office] except for candidates of four parties.”

He further added that there’s no role of Form 45 and Form 46 in the recount. “They are just making excuses after losing the election.”

Recount order

PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail had requested the ECP for a vote recount over irregularities on election day, arguing that a large number of Form 45s were not duly signed by the presiding officers, adding that the polling agents of the party were also not provided Form 46.

He had further pointed out that there was a difference in the total votes recorded in Form 45 and Form 47.

After hearing arguments on May 4, the ECP had ordered that the votes would be recounted at 9am on May 6.

The recount is being held in the presence of all the candidates. Talking to the media at the RO’s office, Mandokhel said the PPP is confident of its victory.

“We know the voters of the constituency and the election environment and that’s why the party did not go against the decision of the Election Commission,” he said. The PPP leader said that the ECP ordered the recount on PML-N’s request due to pressure.

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

On the other hand, PML-N’s Ismail appeared confident of a victory too. He said he is hopeful of getting the desired results in the first step. “I am happy that the ECP ordered vote recounting. If the need arises, we will ask for a biometric analysis of the record.”