ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party on Wednesday suffered a blow when the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) withheld notification of its leader Saeed Ghani for his win in the by-election on vacant PS-114 Karachi on June.

The election result was withheld on the request of MQM –Pakistan’s candidate who demanded recounting of the polled votes.

The ECP restrained Returning Officer from announcing the Karachi’s PS-114 by-election result until July 17, 2017, where Pakistan Peoples Party’s Saeed Ghani had won the by-election on June 9.

Following the by-election result of PS-114, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) Chairperson Farooq Sattar had challenged the result of Sindh Assembly seat stating that there was alleged rigging in the constituency.

In his petition, the MQM chief alleged that there was widespread rigging in the by-election by the PPP candidate. MQM, which was runner-up in the election, pleaded the commission to order verification of votes polled in the constituency through NADRA.  It also pleaded the commission to order recounting of votes.

A five-member bench of ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza Khan heard the plea. MQM Counsel Iqbal S Qadri stated that a large number of fake votes were polled in the constituency.

He added that rigging was carried out at 14 polling stations.  During the hearing, the issue of using biometric machine for voting also came up. MQM counsel said that they had supported the idea of biometric machine for voting. The CEC remarked that the Commission had wanted to use the machine for voting but NADRA did not provide data to the ECP .

The counsel of MQM candidate pleaded the ECP to order re-counting of votes.  MQM-P Chief Farooq Sattar and candidate Kamran Tissori were also present during the hearing.

Regarding the MQM plea to order recounting, the CEC remarked that the Election Tribunal is usually responsible for ordering recounting. Upon this, the counsel said the ECP could also order recounting of votes.

It also urged the ECP not to issue notification of Saeed Ghani’s win before the recounting and verification of votes.

Later, when a ballot box was discovered from a private car in Karachi’s Mehmoodabad area the other day, it prompted MQM to reassert its claim of PS-114 by-election being ‘rigged’.

OUR STAFF REPORTER