ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) instructed the returning officer (RO) not to finalize the result for NA-15 Mansehra on Sunday, following a challenge from PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif.
A bench of four members led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja oversaw the appeal, which was submitted by PML-N leader Captain (retd) Safdar on behalf of Nawaz Sharif.
During the hearing, Nawaz’s legal representative informed the bench that they hadn’t received Form 45 from 125 polling stations. He also highlighted instances where polling agents were expelled by the presiding officer, emphasizing the commission’s duty to uphold transparency in elections. The counsel argued that due to severe weather conditions in the Kala Dhaka area, obtaining Form 45 was challenging.
Furthermore, the counsel pointed out that Form 47 couldn’t be issued without Form 45 and mentioned that the returning officer was currently incapacitated and hospitalized. Safdar contended that Form 47 issued under such circumstances would be invalid and urged the ECP to prevent the RO from issuing the final notification of the Mansehra elections.
Initially, the electoral watchdog reserved its decision on the plea but later announced its decision, directing the RO to withhold the final results temporarily.
Earlier, Captain Safdar, speaking to the media at the ECP offices, stated that the Form 47 issued by the RO was erroneous. While addressing complaints of election rigging from PTI, Safdar remarked on the need for concrete evidence to support such claims, citing past unsubstantiated allegations.
Additionally, numerous petitions were filed in various high courts on Saturday by PTI-backed candidates contesting the results of the February 8 elections in their respective constituencies, as declared by the returning officers.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) received the majority of these petitions, with two filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and three in the Sindh High Court (SHC). These petitions primarily contested the victories of figures such as Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Aleem Khan in different constituencies.