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NA-75 Sialkot-IV, Daska: Nosheen Iftikhar wins the by-polls

SIALKOT: Nosheen Iftikhar has won the by-polls at the NA 75, Daska held here today (10th of April, 2021) by bagging 111220 votes.

On the occasion taking to the Twitter PML VP Maryam Nawaz stated: Help from Allah and a near victory.  

People, who commenced to converge at 360 polling stations all over the constituency, in the morning will be able to cast their votes till 5pm. Polling started at 8 am. The main contestants were PML-N candidate Nosheen Iftikhar and PTI’s candidate Asjad Malhi who bagged 922019. 

Some eight hundred and twenty-three thousand voters were expected to cast their votes at three hundred and sixty polling stations but the turnout remained thin. While CEC had proclaimed that he would be monitoring the proceedings himself, Punjab Election Commissioner along-with concerned officials visited the Command and Control Center on Friday (9th April) in order to review the arrangements.

Although paramilitary force had been deployed to ensure smooth polling, Nosheen Iftikhar had urged that CCTV cameras should also be installed on the streets too. It may be recalled that recently rejecting PTI’s appeal against re-polling in NA-75 Daska, SCP has upheld the ECP order for re-polling in the constituency on Saturday 10th day of April.

SCP bench, headed by Justice Umar Atta Bandial, heard PTI’s Asjad Ali Malhi’s petition challenging the ECP’s decision to hold re-polls in the entire constituency. Justice Bandial maintained that the situation was not under control in the constituency on the day of polling.

During the February by-polls, two people lost their lives due to use of fire arms. Though workers of PML-N and PTI clashed with each other, both sides blamed each other for resorting to violence.

Accepting the decision of the court PTI’s Usman Dar said that the court was supreme for them. PML-N candidate Nausheen Iftikhar reacting to the SCP’s verdict stated: “This is also our party’s victory which propagates for respect of vote.”

SCP on 16th of March, 2021 had dismissed PTI’s request to suspend the ECP order apropos re-elections in the NA-75 Daska constituency.

CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who was heading a 3-member bench, noted that the ECP was a constitutional institution: “While the Supreme Court will continue to hear the case, the re-election will proceed at all costs…The Supreme Court respects the ECP.”

According to CJP the ECP had made a mistake by not having Rangers posted during the by-elections in the Daska NA-75 constituency> Maintaining that 2018 general elections were held peacefully because of the posting of Rangers CJP held: “They were not posted in NA-75 which was a mistake by the Election Commission.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the petition was filed by candidate of PTI Ali Asjad Malhi, challenging the ECP’s decision to hold re-polling in the constituency after reports of rigging. CJP pointed out that the bench now had to decide whether polling ought to be held in the complete constituency or the 20 polling stations of NA-75.

On 10th of March the ECP had announced that the re-election in NA-75 (Daska) constituency will now be held on 10th of April, 2021. The polls were scheduled to be held on 18th of March. But since, on ECP orders, Gujranwala Division commissioner was transferred,  DC Sialkot and a number of senior administrative and police officers were suspended,  Provincial Govt.  had requested the ECP to change the date as more time was required to fill the posts.

It may be recalled that the 19th Feb polls were termed void by ECP which noted that due to dubious disappearance of 20 presiding officers, suspected tampering with results and deadly clashes between PTI and PML-N workers it was necessary to hold re-elections in the constituency.

Earlier, ECP noting that elections were not held in a transparent manner, ordered re-polling in all 360 polling stations of NA-75 (Daska, Sialkot-IV). It may be recalled that the clashes between PTI and PML-N supporters on the by-polls day claimed 2 lives.

PML-N candidate Nausheen Iftikhar had filed an application pointing towards delay in announcement of results by 23 polling stations. She had requested ECP not to include the results of these polling stations in the final results.

CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja, heading the ECP committee listened to PML-N’s Counsel Salman Akram Raja who prayed: “The conspiracy of rigging had started even before the polling day…The Election Commission had issued a schedule banning appointments and transfers…Despite the ban, Zulfiqar Virk was made DSP. The PTI candidates cannot plan such rigging on their own.”

Salman Akram Raja further pointed out though ECP ordered the removal of the DSP,  an SP was made in charge of security for the entire election and in the new notification Zulfiqar Virk’s name was shown as Zulfiqar Ali.

PML-N Lawyer further claimed that due to gun shots carried out to harass the voters, only 22% votes were cast. On asking, CEC was told that the voter turnout in the general election was 58%: “Presiding officers go missing to end my client’s lead.”

PML-N’s Lawyer told that following all the calculations, new Form 45 were filled: “This is the first time that an Election Commission is telling the truth. It has the power to review the election process. Presiding officers’ mobiles and police wireless were switched off simultaneously. Election Commission is the protector of democracy.”

PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi’s lawyer held: “Voter turnouts vary around the world…There were widespread irregularity and women were not prevented from voting. Ali Asjad Malhi repeatedly requested the Returning Officer to release the results. The results were obtained through polling agents.”

Not only a RO told ECP about tempering of results at 14 polling stations during 19th Feb by-polls at Daska NA-75 constituency, glaring instances like disappearance of election staff at two dozen polling stations made ECP  suspect rigging.

ECP’s EARLIER ORDER: Sikandar Sultan Raja, Chairman: “The arguments heard and record perused. From the perusal of available record produced by the parties, the Returning Officer as well as collected by the Commission through different sources, we have come to the conclusion that conducive environment was not available for the candidates and voters of the constituency and the election in the subject constituency has not been conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in a transparent manner, incidents of murders, firing and injuries, bad law and order situation in the subject constituency creating harassment for others and other circumstances adding to make the process of result…” | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.