Take It Up With ECP: LHC Deems PTI's Petitions Against Victories Of PML-N, IPP Unmaintainable

LHC rules decision on whether the presence of a candidate is mandatory when the returning officer is compiling Form-47s from results contained in Form-45s will be decided by ECP

Take It Up With ECP: LHC Deems PTI's Petitions Against Victories Of PML-N, IPP Unmaintainable

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday dismissed a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the election wins of several opponents in Punjab, deeming the petition unmaintainable.

The court directed the petitioner to take up the matter with the Election Commission of Pakistan.

PTI candidate for NA-119 Shahzad Farooq had filed a petition against the returning officer of his constituency, contending that the officer had compiled consolidated results of the constituency from Form-45s finalised by presiding officers without his presence. He claimed that this allowed the results to be manipulated, depriving him of a legitimate victory.

Pre the final Form-47, Farooq had lost the election to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz. Farooq bagged 68,376 votes, while Maryam secured 83,855 votes. At least 4,109 votes had been excluded from the final count as they were deemed to have been incorrectly cast.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) candidate Muhammad Zaheer was third with 30,525 votes.

On Monday, the court heard the PTI petition by overruling the objections placed by the registrar.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi heard arguments from all sides.

He also heard arguments from 17 other petitioners who had filed similar petitions with regard to different candidates, including PML-N's Khawaja Asif, Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party's (IPP) Aon Chaudhry, Abdul Aleem Khan and others.

Justice Najafi ultimately dismissed all the applications. He ruled that the petitioners can file applications with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). 

On the question of whether results must be consolidated in the presence of candidates or not, the court ruled that the ECP can resolve the matter. 

"A prompt decision by the ECP will be in the spirit of Articles 218(3) and 224 of the Constitution by strictly complying with provisions of the Elections Act, 2017," he further ruled.