ISLAMABAD:Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted appeal moved by Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan challenging order of recounting of votes in Constituency NA-131, Lahore -VII.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the appeal challenging Lahore High Court orders of recounting in the constituency and stoppage of winning notification of Imran Khan by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that it was prerogative of the Commission, how could judiciary interfere in the commission’s affairs.
Counsel for Khawaja Saad Rafuque, leader of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and runner up candidate in the said constituency, pleaded that Imran Khan in his victory speech maintained that he would have no objection in reopening any constituency on which parties had reservations.
To this chief justice said that it was an political speech, judiciary had nothing with that and would follow the rules and regulations.
Chief Justice remarked that in last days apex court also passed a similar orders so there was no need of recounting in the constituency.
Subsequently, the court suspended the LHC orders and directed the respondents to approach Election Tribunal and sustained Imran’s plea.
After Imran emerged as the winner in the general elections, the former railways minister requested the Returning Officer (RO) for a recount. His plea, however, was dismissed.
Rafique then approached the ECP which accepted the application but only allowed scrutiny of rejected votes. Imran remained the winning candidate and the PML-N leader’s effort could not bear fruit, leading him to file a petition in the high court.
The PML-N leader then filed a petition in LHC challenging the RO’s order to dismiss the recount plea of votes of the whole constituency.
On August 4, Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the recounting of votes in NA-131 (Lahore-VII) and directed ECP to withhold the notification announcing Khan’s win from the constituency until the recount will be completed.
Subsequently Khan approached the apex court against the LHC decision and got relief.
Rafique, the former railways minister, had lost the poll to the PTI chief by a margin of only 680 votes, receiving 83,633 votes against Khan’s 84,313, according to the Form-47 available on the ECP website.
The 2,835 rejected votes from the constituency were then recounted on Rafique’s request, which resulted in slight changes to the final count but Khan still remained the winner by a few hundred votes. —APP