Lahore | The victory of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in Lahore's National Assembly seats was challenged in the Lahore High Court on Saturday alleging that the top poll body did not follow the correct procedure.
Challenging the victory of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates in the Lahore High Court (LHC), several losing PTI-backed candidates claimed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared them winners on “bogus” result Form-47 instead of Form-45.
Form 45, commonly referred to as the ‘Result of the Count’ form, is a crucial record in the Pakistani electoral process which is intended to uphold openness and accountability by documenting and disclosing the outcomes of the voting procedure at a particular polling station.
A large number of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) candidates had contested as independents after the ECP had snatched the former prime minister Imran Khan-led party of its iconic cricket bat symbol.
Even when the PTI-backed independents have emerged as the largest lot with over 100 clear wins, the party is expecting at least 50 more National Assembly seats.
Sharif, 74, won from NA-130 by securing over 1,72,000 votes against PTI's Dr Yasmin Rashid, who got over 113,000 while his daughter Maryam Nawaz, 50, won from NA-119 securing over 83,000 votes against PTI’s Farooq Shahzad, who bagged over 68,000.
One of the petitioners at the LHC, Dr Rashid said she had won the seat against Sharif according to the Form-45, however, the ECP issued Form-47 declaring the PML-N supreme as successful.
Similarly, Shehzad said Maryam had lost the seat as per polling booth results (Form-45) but “she was declared successful through bogus Form-47.”
Another PTI-backed losing candidate challenged the victory of the former prime minister of PPP Yousuf Raza Gilani at Multan.
Shaher Bano, daughter of former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is languishing at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi along with PTI founder Khan, also challenged her defeat on similar charges.
PTI secretary Omar Ayub Khan said, “The nation polled around 30 million votes for the PTI-backed candidates” and noted that the nation had shattered several political parties in the election.
He instructed all party candidates and polling agents to collect Form-45 and approach the courts to challenge the “rigged results” and emphasised that the results had not yet been consolidated.
Khan’s PTI party central Punjab general secretary Hammad Azhar asserted that Nawaz Sharif, along with his brother, family members, and key PML-N leaders, had suffered a massive defeat in the election and said: “PTI candidates were winning by a significant margin of 50,000 to 1,00,000 votes but were defeated with one stroke of the pen.”
“We have all the evidence of rigging and several losing candidates are approaching the courts,” the PTI leader said.
Meanwhile, Khan's lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar told reporters on Saturday that PTI has won over 150 National Assembly seats but its candidates have been declared successful only on around 100. “We hope that the courts will take up our petitions and we will get at least 50 NA seats back,” he said.
Incidentally, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), an independent watchdog monitoring Pakistan elections, too on Saturday highlighted various grey areas in the recently held polls, noting the failure of presiding officers in providing Form 45 to observers at 29 per cent of the polling stations.