Pakistan elections 2018: Request by PML-N for recounting of votes in Karachi constituency rejected

Karachi [Pakistan]: The request for recounting of votes in NA-249 (Karachi constituency) by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif was rejected by the returning officer (RO) of the constituency.

According to unofficial results, Shahbaz has lost to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Faisal Vawda, with a narrow margin of 718 votes. PML-N leader Rana Mashood had filed the appeal on behalf of Shahbaz Sharif with the returning officer of NA-249 from where PTI candidate Vawda has been unofficially announced elected with 35,344 votes. Sharif emerged as the runner-up as he bagged 34,626 votes, while Mufti Abid Mubarak of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan secured the third position with 23,981 votes, The Dawn reported.

Mashood said in his application that Vawda had won the seat with the winning margin of only over 600 votes, while over 3,000 votes were rejected during the counting. Reacting to the decision of the returning officer, senior leader of the PML-N Mushahidullah Khan said, “The returning officer would have accepted Shahbaz’s request for recounting of votes, instead of ‘summarily’ rejecting his application.” He added that the PML-N would file an appeal with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the call of the returning officer whose conduct “has proved that the party is not being provided a level playing field”.

Meanwhile, a number of applications for recount of votes were filed on Friday in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the losing candidates in the general elections. However, the returning officers of two NA constituencies in Lahore has allowed applications of PML-N leader Khwaja Saad Rafiq and PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan for holding recount in their own constituencies. PTI chairman Imran Khan has won NA-131 against Rafiq, while  PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has beaten Aleem Khan in NA-129. Both Rafiq and Khan have raised questions on discrepancies during the vote counting process.

In Multan, the returning officer for NA-158 has rejected former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s application for recounting or re-examination of ballot papers. On Friday, a multi-party conference (MPC) was called for by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to concoct a strategy over the alleged rigging of the General Elections 2018. Chaired by PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) president Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the MPC rejected the poll results and demanded a transparent re-election.

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