A division bench (DB) of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday dismissed three election petitions seeking holding of fresh election in a constituency, seeking re-polling, and recounting of votes in two other constituencies.

The DB comprising Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui turned down these three separate election petitions moved by Ghalib Khan from Dera Ismail Khan, Hamid Shah from Bannu and Muhammad Rahim from Quetta against Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

In the first petition, petitioner Ghalib Khan, a candidate for NA-41, Tank-VI, moved the court through his counsel Muhammad Ikram Chaudhary to halt re-polling on four polling stations except one of the constituency. In his petition, Ghalib stated that he secured 7,228 votes being the highest in the final count wherein his opponent candidate secured 6,300 votes.

He informed the court that on the day of elections as per record one ballot box was allegedly stolen from polling station No 32, Dub Kot, using force by armed militants who along with the ballot box stole ballot papers as well as rubber stamps and other polling material from the said polling station.

He continued that in the meantime his two opposing candidates raised objections over the results of polling station Nos 32, 37, 57 and 59 although they have not obtained a single vote from these polling stations. Furthermore, the results of the alleged polling stations have been signed and announced by the presiding officers thus leaving no ground for objections.

His counsel stated that district returning officer ordered re-polling vide notification dated May 15 on polling station Nos 32, 37, 57 and 59 of the constituency to be held on May 21. Therefore, he prayed before the court that is may declare the aforementioned notification as illegal, unlawful and mala fide except for re-polling on polling station No 32.

He further prayed that the court may direct the respondents to issue the notification of petitioner being the returned candidate from the constituency.

In the second petition, Hamid Shah, a candidate contested elections for PK-72, Bannu-III, filed a petition in IHC against Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) through his counsel Muhammad Ikram Chaudhary and made ECP, provincial election commissioner Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and others as respondents.

He stated in the petition that on the day of election as per record the respondent Shah Mohammad Khan went to several polling stations along with armed men and rigged the polling using force and committed terrorism. Shah maintained that he filed an application for disqualification of Shah Mohammad Khan on May 14 based on the FIR No 71 and on the fact that he is a pronounced terrorist as per record of the KPK government which was never considered. Therefore, he requested the court to issue an order for fresh elections of the said constituency.

In the third petition, petitioner Muhammad Rahim contested the elections for constituency PB-40, Nushki Balochistan, approached IHC through his counsel Raja Aamir Abbas and made ECP, provincial election commissioner Balochistan and 19 others as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner said that he was declared as returned candidate by the returning officer. Rahim stated that as per consolidated statement of the result of the count, he obtained 4,988 regular votes plus 92 postal ballots totalling 5,080 votes whereas his opponent Mir Ghulam Dastgir Badini obtained 5049 regular votes and 22 postal ballot votes totalling 5071 votes and he was declared as the returned candidate.

He argued that ECP to the great astonishment of the petitioner and without issuing any notice to him, directed the returning officer vide order dated May 16 for the re-count of the postal ballot within three days. He continued that the RO instead of recounting the postal ballots asked all the contesting candidates to be present for the recount of votes of the entire constituency.

Therefore, he requested the court that the order passed by ECP dated May 16 may be set aside or as an alternate the RO be directed to only recount the postal ballot papers and not the entire votes of the constituency.