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The Election Commission of Pakistan has approved a vote recount for Karachi’s NA-249 and said it will be done on May 6. It will be done in the presence of the regional election commissioner Hyderabad.The chief election commissioner had earlier reserved judgement on the plea filed by PML-N’s Miftah Ismail for a recount. He had contested the by-election on the National Assembly seat vacated by Senator Faisal Vawda. The by-election was held on May 1.

It was declared Saturday night that PPP’s Qadir Khan Mandokhail had defeated Ismail by less than 800 votes. Ismail had, however, challenged the results after which they were withheld. He asked for a recount in the entire constituency.

All candidates were summoned by the electoral body today. The ECP said in a two-page note that since every candidate was complaining of how polling had taken place, that they could withhold the results, which had not been declared final anyway. The turnout was abysmally low.

PML-N’s arguments

Salman Akram Raja, who was representing Ismail, argued that Form 45 in 167 polling stations was not verified and had no signature too.

He even argued that this calls for re-polling in the entire constituency as the results could not be relied upon.

When the results came out, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said that the number of votes cast was more than the votes in the results.

The ECP bench, however, said that it will only rule on recount plea, adding that it would hear a case on re-polling if any political party submits an application for it.

On Tuesday, PML-N’s Miftah Ismail said that the party has submitted all evidence for re-polling in the constituency. “When have submitted 167 Form 45 which we got from the election commission.”

PPP’s arguments

Latif Khosa, the PPP’s lawyer, said that there is no basis for recounting the votes. No reasonable argument has been presented by the PML-N lawyer, he claimed. The PPP won by a small margin but this does not give the PML-N the right to demand a vote recount.

While speaking to the media outside the ECP, he said that none of the political parties presented any solid evidence in the case. No complaints were received from any polling station when the voting was underway, he added.

PSP’s Mustafa Kamal wants re-polling

Pakistan Sarzameen Party Chairperson Mustafa Kamal has submitted a request to the Election Commission of Pakistan for re-polling in Karachi’s NA-249.

“Form-45 was not provided to me or my agents on the election day particularly at more than 30 polling stations,” he wrote to the electoral body. It is to be noted that the result of more than 100 polling stations were on hold for more than seven hours, he added.

Kamal accused the Sindh government and the Pakistan Peoples Party of rigging and attacking him and his supporters.

NA-249 by-election

The seat fell vacant after PTI’s Faisal Vawda resigned from the seat to become a senator on March 3. He had won the seat after defeating PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif during the 2018 General Election.

According to the Election Commission, 339,000 voters were registered in the constituency. Ninety-two polling stations were declared sensitive, while 184 highly sensitive. Seventy-six polling stations were set up for men, and 61 for women.

Baldia Town, Rasheedabad, Ittehad Town, Saeedabad, Qaimkhani Colony, Gulshan-e-Bihar, Mominabad, Frontier Colony, and some parts of Orangi Town fall under the constituency.

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Abdul Gh Lone