LAHORE - Two losing candidates, PTI’s Aleem Khan and independent Khurram Qureshi, yesterday filed separate applications before the returning officer of NA-122 for recounting of the votes.
Returning Officer Zahid Iqbal, however, dismissed both the application observing that he had invited all candidates and their representatives before announcing the final result, but no one turned up at that time to lodge any complaint. “I’m not authorised to (order) recounting once the results had been officially announced,” he said, asking the candidates to approach the election commission for this purpose.
Aleem Khan had alleged in his application that rejected votes were counted in favour of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the winner candidate of PML-N, while Qureshi said he was allotted symbol of “goat” and votes cast in favour of his symbol were counted as cast for “lion”, the election symbol of PML-N.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has sought from the election commission the computerised voter lists of general election 2013 and by-election 2015 for NA-122.
Party’s Punjab organiser Ch Sarwar yesterday filed the application before the ECP secretary and demanded attested copies of the lists issued by the commission for the polls.
PTI claims the PML-N in compliance of Nadra and ECP officials shifted PTI’s voters of NA-122 to other areas while the ruling party’s voters from other constituencies were registered in NA-122.
PTI candidate Aleem Khan lost crucial by-poll held on October 11 against PML-N candidate Ayaz Sadiq with a narrow margin. Ch Sarwar has already announced widespread protests if the voters’ shifting proved.
“We will ignore minor mistakes in the lists and accept the results but not tolerate shifting of hundreds of our voters to other area,” he said and added: “We will take this matter to its logical conclusion. PTI teams would review the lists and bring the facts to the public.”
The six-member PTI committee headed by MPA Shoaib Siddiqui will investigate the voter lists. The other members of the committee are: MPA Aslam Iqbal, Anees Hashmi advocate, Mehar Wajid Azeem, Mehar Fayyaz and Khurram Qureshi.
Another application has been filed before an Election Tribunal seeking recounting of votes cast in NA-122. Ishtiaq Ahmad Chaudhry of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has filed the petition under Section 52 of Peoples’ Representatives Act 1976.
The petitioner says the winner, former Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N, neither deposited the fine of Rs 2.5 million imposed on him by the election tribunal nor did he submit details about his foreign visits.
He stated that a large number of votes cast there did not carry stamps and the media reports were evident of this irregularity. He alleged that the government has used state machinery to support its candidate. He prayed the tribunal to order vote recount.
On the other hand, Ayaz Sadiq has invited PTI chief Imran Khan to help government meet the challenges of terrorism and overcome other problems. He said “the time of election is over and now it is time to make Pakistan stable and strong for which all need to work”.
The former speaker, who is due to return to that slot after his re-election, said in the Lahore by election people have buried the allegations of rigging in the last general election and proved that Lahore was an unconquerable citadel of the PML-N.
Ayaz, who has returned to the National Assembly for the fourth time from the same constituency, said to a question that he had predicted that Imran would not accept the defeat and added, if khan feels that this time again the election has been manipulated then why he does not talk of election in PP-147, where his party has emerged winner.
He said what Imran Khan was saying may lead the country to de-stability which will not serve anyone’s purpose. He said defeat to PTI was also defeat to those parties which stood by it.
He asked Imran to shun ego and lend a hand to the government in building the country. He also advised PTI chief to train his young supporters the way he trained his own sons so that they learn how to behave and talk decently about the elders.
The winning candidate also warned the PTI against the politics of dharna which he said disserved the country in the past. If this time Chinese investment slipped out of hand due to the same practice, the PTI will be squarely responsible, he added.