PTI's petition has been dismissed
The Supreme Court has ruled that Sialkot’s NA-75 re-polling will be held in the entire constituency.
By-elections were held in the Sialkot constituency on February 19. Its results became controversial after presiding officers of some polling stations went ‘missing’ and came with results the next day. The PML-N challenged the results in the Election Commission and the electoral body ordered re-polling in the entire constituency.
PTI’s Asjad Ali Malhi, who contested the by-election, approached the Supreme Court and challenged the ECP’s February 25 decision. He said that the commission did not review the record completely and its decision is not based on facts. The verdict should, therefore, be declared null and void. His petition has been dismissed.
While hearing the final arguments in the case Friday morning, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that this is for the first time that presiding officers went missing. They hold respectable posts and should be given respect.
On March 31, The ECP presented a geo-fencing report on the missing presiding officers. The report revealed that they were all together at a suspicious place at 2am. The exact location was, however, not mentioned.
This is the victory of the people of Daska and Pakistan, said PML-N’s Nosheen Iftikhar while speaking to the media outside the court. She contested the by-elections on the PML-N’s ticket.
“We don’t want any rigging and the elections should be free and fair,” she remarked. Voters should not be threatened or harassed.
“We will respect the decision of the court,” said PTI’s Malhi after the verdict was announced. Our leader has not taught us to accept defeat so we will continue fighting.
“We are ready to face our opponents again and will defeat them by twice as many votes as before,” he added. “We will continue our democratic fight.”
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar remarked that the verdict is not in their favour but they will still accept it. “We respect the courts and their judgements.”
Sialkot’s NA-75 seat fell vacant after PML-N MNA Iftikharul Hassan Shah died of a heart attack in August 2020. He was also a member of the standing committees on Interior and Narcotics Control and National Food Security and Research.
Shah was appointed MNA from the area thrice. He won the seat after securing 40,042 votes during the 2018 General Election.
The constituency is known as a PML-N stronghold. Shah’s daughter Shah contested the by-election on the party’s ticket.