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Election Commission of Pakistan accepts PML-N’s plea, orders recount in NA-249 Karachi by-election

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday has accepted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) plea and ordered recount in NA-249 by-elections.

During the hearing, PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail submitted the details of unsigned form 45 in the commission and requested to launch inquiry into the irregularities.

The PML-N lawyer adopted the stance that a separate petition will be filed for re-polling in the constituency. Vote recount is our first priority however, we can take further step if not get satisfied, he added.

He said that unverified forms 45 and 46 have made the election suspicious. Form 45 of 167 polling stations was without signatures while some polling agents also didn’t get form 46, he told.

Unofficial results: Qadir Khan Mandokhel of PPP wins NA-249 by-election

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the by-election in the National Assembly constituency NA-249 Karachi West-II.

According to unofficial results of all 276 polling stations, PPP candidate Qadir Khan Mandokhel secured 16,156 votes to win the NA-249 Karachi West-II by-election. PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail got 15,473 votes to remain second.

Nazir Ahmed grabbed 11,126 votes and came third. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal got 9,227 votes to remain fourth. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Amjad Afridi secured fifth position by obtaining 8,922 votes.

The election commission had made all necessary arrangements to hold the elections in peaceful manner. The polling started at 8am and continued till 5pm without any break.

FAFEN reports irregularities in NA-249 by-election

Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) had released a report on the NA-249 by-elections in Karachi and witnessed a substantial decline in voter turnout, mainly due to the hot weather and Ramzan.

ECP ensured strict compliance to the COVID-19 standard operating procedures. Despite a competitive campaign, the poll recorded a turnout of 21.6 percent of registered voters—dropping from 40 percent reported for the constituency during General Elections 2018.

Observers representing the FAFEN asked voters how satisfied they were with the voting process. Voters outside 98 polling stations—18 men’s, 17 women’s, and 53 combined—expressed their satisfaction. In contrast, voters outside the remaining polling stations said they were partially satisfied.

The observers found election material in enough quantities at all of the observed polling stations. Except for two incidents of unauthorized individuals going behind the secrecy screens at two polling stations, there were no other incidents that compromised voters’ secrecy. Except for two cases, the observers did not see party workers persuading voters inside the polling stations.

On Election Day, FAFEN’s trained citizen observers reported 143 violations, of which 55 related to the presence of party camps in the polling stations’ surroundings. In 11 instances, the polling staff did not allow voters to cast votes and sent them back. At 19 polling stations, the observers saw the COVID-19 SOPs not implemented at all. The other 58 instances of violations pertained to procedural irregularities, mainly in voting and counting processes. On average, the observers reported 1.3 violations per polling station.

Twelve political parties fielded their candidates in the NA-249 by-election while 18 candidates contested independently. The winning candidate secured 22 percent (16,156) of the polled votes (73,471).

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