Lahore, 20 Feb. 2021
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a press release this morning said that missing Twenty Returning Officers have reported back along with ‘compromised results’ from 20 polling stations of by-elections at NA-75 Sialkot-VI.
The District Returning Officer and Returning Officer of NA-75 has asked ECP for a fair inquiry over the matter and announced results before inquiry will not be possible. ECP has expressed it’s displeasure over ‘NO Response’ by the Provincial Police Chief, Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner when ECP informed them about missing of Twenty Presiding Officers on 19th February.
ECP press release states that late night at 0300 AM, Chief Secretary, Province of Punjab was informed about missing of officers and polling bags, however, later the Chief Secretary was not also available.
At 0600 AM, the POs along with polling bags were brought before the ECP officials, ECP stopped the District Returning Officer and Returning Officers from announcing the results and asked for the inquiry.
ECP stated that incident shows lack of administration and the security, it has directed the Provincial Election Commissioner and Joint Provincial Election Commissioner to probe the matter.
By-elections were held on Friday, 19 February in NA-45 Kurram-1 and PK-63 Nowshera-3 (KPK Province); NA-75 Sialkot-VI and PP-51 Gujranwala-1 (Punjab Province). Ruling PTI political party won the election of NA-45 Kurram-1, whereas lost to Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) seats of Nowshera and Gujranwala. Ruling party also lost three other by-elections in Balochistan and two in Sindh provinces.
In a press conference today, Maryam Nawaz, Vice President, main opposition political party in parliament ‘Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’ has strongly protested and alleged ruling party PTI involvement for stealing ballot papers from Punjab’s PP-51 Wazirabad constituency. She also claimed for catching red-handed with ballots bag a poling officer and an other incident a PTI political worker. She charged the police playing part in stealing of the ballots.
ECP has ordered for the probe on the alleged charges, on other side ruling political party Pakistan Tehreek i Insaf led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed it’s victory in Sialkot-VI Daska by-election, though, Election Commission of Pakistan has not announced any result and has ordered for investigation of return of missing returning Officers along with ballots bags.
NA-75 fell vacant after the demise of PML-N member National Assembly Sahibazada Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah.