Crisis looms as ECP withholds 26 seats results
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday notified the final results of the general election but withheld results of nine national and 17 provincial assembly seats for various reasons, stirring a new controversy before the formation of the next government.
The strength of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the National Assembly has gone down from 116 to 112 for now and its ally Balochistan Awami Party from four to three.
The nine NA constituencies where the results have been withheld include NA-53 (Islamabad) and NA-131 (Lahore) from where prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan had defeated former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, respectively.
Even the notifications of Mr Khan’s victory from NA-35 (Bannu), NA-95 (Mianwali-I) and NA-243 (Karachi East-II) have been issued conditionally. “The notification shall be subject to the final decision of the Election Commission in the pending case of violation of code of conduct,” a note attached with all the three notifications read.
Issues conditional results of Imran’s victory from three constituencies, withholds notification of two other seats
Though the note did not explain the nature of the violation, it apparently referred to the violation of secrecy of vote by stamping the ballot paper in the NA-53 (Islamabad) constituency on the table of presiding officer, instead of going behind the voting screen.
The development related to the issuance of condition notifications of Mr Khan’s victory generated a debate on whether he would be able to form a government at the Centre.
In all, the PTI had won on four out of the nine NA seats where the results have been put on hold.
Three of the nine seats had been claimed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and one each by the Pakistan Peoples Party and the BAP.
This has reduced the strength of the PTI in the NA to 112, followed by the PML-N (61) and the PPP (42). The strength of the BAP has gone down to three.
The notifications of seven of the nine constitutions have been withheld pursuant to orders of the high courts. These include NA-131 (Lahore) constituency, where Mr Khan won against Khawaja Saad Rafique; NA-108 constituency where PTI’s Farrukh Habib defeated PML-N’s Abid Sher Ali; the NA-140 (Kasur) constituency, where PTI’s Sardar Talib Nakai defeated Rana Mohammad Hayat Khan; NA-90 and -91 (Sargodha) where PML-N’s Hamid Hameed and Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti emerged victorious, NA-112 (Toba Tek Singh) seat which was won by PML-N’s Junaid Anwar Chaudhry; and NA-215 (Sanghar) seat that was won by PPP’s Naveed Dero. Result of NA-271 (Kech) has been withheld for failure of BAP’s Zubeda Jalal to submit return of her election expenses.
Elections had taken place on 270 of the total 272 general seats in the National Assembly. Elections in NA-60 (Rawalpindi) constituency had been postponed after the disqualification of PML-N leader Haneef Abbasi only days before the general election, while polls in Faisalabad had been postponed after the death of a contesting candidate.
Five seats in Punjab Assembly
Of the total 297 seats in the Punjab Assembly, elections were held on 295 seats. In PP-87 and PP-103 constituencies, elections had been postponed after the death of contesting candidates. The ECP declared final results of 290 PP seats.
A notification has not been issued for PP-296 (Rajanpur) as the PTI’s winning candidate died after his victory. In the remaining four constituencies, results have been withheld on orders of the Lahore High Court. The PTI and the PML-N had won two seats each of them.
Six seats in Sindh Assembly
While elections took place on 129 of the total 297 general seats of the Sindh Assembly, the ECP withheld results of six of them. The Grand Democratic Alliance and the PPP had won three seats each from these constituencies.
The notification of PS-73 where PPP’s Taj Mohammad defeated GDA’s Fehmida Mirza has not been issued, as the ECP awaits result from the returning officer after recount.
However, the results of PS-29 (Khairpur), PS-36 (Naushahro Feroze), PS-46 (Mirpurkhas), PS-54 (Tharparkar) and PS-82 (Jamshoro) have been withheld owing to stay order of the Sindh High Court.
Three seats in KP Assembly
Of the total 99 general seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, polls had been held on 97 seats while the results of three of them have been withheld. The PTI had claimed victory on all the three seats.
PTI’s Azizullah Khan had won from the PK-4 (Swat) constituency and the result has been withheld for want of vote recount. PTI’s Shaukat Ali had won PK-23 (Shangla) seat, while the ECP withheld its result for unexplained reason. PTI’s Haji Qalandar Khan had won the PK-38 (Abbottabad) seat whose notification has been withheld on the Peshawar High Court order.
Three seats in Balochistan Assembly
Results of three constituencies of Balochistan Assembly have also been withheld. Ahmad Alki of Hazara Democratic Party had claimed victory in PB-26 (Quetta) constituency whose result was withheld by the ECP for unexplained reasons. The notification of independent candidate Mir Niamatullah Zehri’s victory had been withheld for his failure to meet the mandatory legal requirement of submitting return of election expenses.
The result of another winning candidate Zahid Ali from PB 41 (Washuk) had not been notified for unexplained reasons.
The PTI has pleaded the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take notice of the withholding of results by the Election Commission and the delay caused by the orders of subordinate courts.
While expressing serious reservations over the delay of election results, PTI central secretary information Fawad Chaudhary said smooth transition of power was a matter of serious concern. “Any sort of delay will directly affect the country and masses,” he said.
Terming the delay harmful, the PTI leader stated that it would cast doubts on the whole electoral process. Therefore, he requested the CJP to personally take notice of the delay caused by the ECP and the subordinate courts.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018