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Apex court suspends LHC order of vote recount in NA-131

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) order of vote recounting in NA-131 constituency of Lahore on Wednesday.

While hearing the petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Imran Khan against the LHC decision of vote recounting in NA-131 constituency on the request of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Saad Rafique.

PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique had petitioned for a recount in the closely contested NA-131 constituency, from where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had emerged victorious. He had alleged that the presiding officer deliberately rejected hundreds of votes.

Bagging a total of 84,313 votes in the constituency, Imran had defeated Rafique by 680 ballots.

The PML-N leader had then requested the constituency’s returning officer (RO) to conduct a recount of the rejected votes. Following the re-tabulation, Imran’s margin of victory had reduced to 608 votes.

Later, Rafique had petitioned to re-tabulate results of the entire constituency which was rejected by the returning officer. The PML-N leader had then challenged the decision in LHC’s election tribunal.

On August 4, the LHC heard Rafique’s petition and ordered a recount in the constituency. The high court had also ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to withhold Imran’s victory notification for NA-131.

Yesterday, the electoral body had notified all successful candidates but withheld those challenged in courts, including Imran’s notification for the said constituency. The PTI legal counsel Babar Awan then contacted the apex court in this regard.

As the hearing went under way today, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that NA-131’s result had already been declared.

Rafique’s legal counsel contended that a recount request is valid if the victory margin is less than five per cent.

However, the apex court suspended LHC’s ruling for re-tabulation and accepted Imran’s plea for hearing.

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