Pakistan’s courts have been inundated with petitions from losing candidates challenging provisional results in their constituencies just days after the country’s highly polarized general election, it emerged on Sunday.
Although the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) emerged as the largest party in the February 8 elections, the number of independent candidates, a large majority of them backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan), were the largest block of winners.
The PTI claimed that the candidates it supported had won the maximum number of seats, but the results were manipulated to deprive it of the majority and, to change the situation, the losing candidates have packed the courts.
According to a Dawn newspaper report, a large majority of those raising challenges against the results are PTI-backed independents, including high-profile politicians such as former Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and his wife Qaisera, a former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa financier. (KP). minister Taimoor Jhagra and former KP president Mahmood Jan, Islamabad-based lawyer Shuaib Shaheen, former Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, as well as Rehana Dar, mother of Usman Dar, who was in charge of youth affairs in the PTI government.
In Lahore, the victories of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, PML-N Attaullah Tarar and former Defense Minister Khawaja Asif came under attack in separate petitions in the apex court, alleging manipulation of Form 47 , which showed consolidated results. of each constituency.
The petitioners claim they were successful against their opponents based on the Form 45 they were given, which shows the results from each polling station. However, in their absence, their victories allegedly turned into defeats in Form 47. They also alleged collusion in tampering with election results and demand that Form 47 results be prepared in accordance with Forms 45.
In PP 146 Sialkot, Omar Dar’s wife Ruba Omar has questioned the election results. According to Form 45, Ruba Omar won, but was evidently defeated in Form 47 due to collusion.
Maryam’s victory in NA-119 has been challenged by independent candidate Shahzad Farooq, alleging that the chairpersons did not provide Form 45 and the returning officer issued the result in their absence. Farooq claims to have won against Maryam but was defeated due to manipulation.
PML-N’s Atta Tarar’s victory from NA-127 has been questioned by Zahir Abbas Khokhar, who claimed that Tarar lost under Form 45 but declared himself victorious under Form 47 with obvious collusion.
In Karachi, three PTI candidates filed a complaint in the Sindh High Court, alleging that the election watchdog, the returning officer (RO), those who compiled Form 47 and others violated election laws and manipulated the entire process.
The challengers include PTI provincial chief Haleem Adil Sheikh, Arsalan Khalid and advocate Khalid Mehmood, who contested in NA-238 (East-IV), NA-248 (Central-II) and NA-231 (Malir-III) , respectively.
The PTI Sindh president argued that as per form 45 obtained by his polling agents at all polling stations, he had a clear lead of around 65,000 votes, but MQM-P’s Sadiq Iftikhar emerged as the winner of NA-238 by more of 54,000 in the impugned Form 47, while the petitioner stood second with more than 36,800 votes.
In Islamabad, Mohammad Shuaib Shaheen – a member of Imran Khan’s legal team – and Mohammad Ali Bukhari of the PTI have criticized their defeats at the hands of Tariq Fazal Chaudhry of the PML-N and independent candidate Raja Khurram Shehzad, respectively.
Both candidates filed the petitions before the IHC, however, the registrar office raised the objection that the petitioner should approach the appropriate forum. Subsequently, the candidates submitted the application to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The Peshawar High Court will take up petitions filed by nine PTI-backed independents, including six former legislators, challenging the provisional election results in their respective constituencies.
The hearing will be conducted by a two-member bench comprising Justice Shakeel Ahmad and Justice Syed Arshad Ali.
The petitioners include former provincial ministers Taimoor Jhagra (PK-79) and Kamran Khan Bangash (PK-82), former KP Assembly Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan (PK-72), former MPs Sajid Nawaz Khan (NA -28) and Hamidul. Haq (PK-80), former legislator Arbab Jehandad Khan (PK-74), former Nazim of Peshawar district Mohammad Asim (PK-78) and lawyers Ali Zaman (PK-73) and Malik Shahab (PK-75) ), according to the Dawn Report.
Legal challenges typically continue to drag on for weeks and months in court and do not affect the government formation process. Candidates also use some of these challenges as face-saving tactics.