The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) halted the notification of PPP candidate Saeed Ghani's victory in the PS-114 elections on Thursday. The ECP was hearing a petition by Muttahida Qaumi Movement - Pakistan (MQM-P) candidate Kamran Tessori for a vote recount.
Speaking through its counsel and member national assembly (MNA) Iqbal Qadri, MQM-P requested the ECP to order the returning officer to conduct a recount of votes for the recently-held elections in PS-114 in Karachi.
PPP's Saeed Ghani had secured 23,840 votes against MQM-P candidate Kamran Tessori's 18,106 votes, according to unofficial and unconfirmed results. Ghani's victory has come as a surprise to many in a constituency traditionally contested by MQM and Irfanullah Marwat.
MQM-P had claimed that the PPP had used unfair means to win the elections. A video showing MQM-P workers and MNA Ali Raza Abidi confronting a pick-up driver with an ECP ballot box in an area of the constituency also appeared Wednesday night on social media.
When inquiring the reasons for MQM-P's recount request, the ECP was informed that MQM-P feels that bogus votes were polled in the elections. "We had demanded bio-metric machines and army to be deployed for the elections but the request was not complied with," MQM-P's counsel said.
The Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza informed him that 10 bio-metric machines had been bought but could not be used in the elections since the ECP had not been provided with voter data. ECP member Justice Irshad Qaiser asked whether the ECP had the powers to take action after the returning officer had compiled the final result, to which Qadri said that a notification has not yet been issued and quoted the Sumera Malik case to claim that the case can be heard by an election tribunal even after the returning officer has done his job.
"MQM-P was winning the election until last moments," Qadri claimed, adding that the PPP has always been on the third or fourth position in the constituency. "Why would Karachi's residents vote for a government which has made the city a pile of dirt?" Qadri asked.
Adjourning the hearing until July 17, Chief Election Commissioner said that ECP has the right to call for a vote recount and issued a notification for Saeed Ghani to appear in the next hearing.
Expressing his dismay over the development, Ghani tweeted that the ECP has stayed the notification in one of the best elections "as claimed by no one else but ECP themselves."