Election authority maintains that PTI candidates’ proposers are registered in NA-130, even though they reside in NA-133
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday dismissed allegations forwarded by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s nominees for the NA-133 by-poll elections, maintaining that the candidates had been disqualified due to flaws in their nomination papers.
Last week, the returning officer for the by-election had rejected the nomination papers of PTI candidate Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, as well as his wife and covering candidate Musarrat Cheema, after finding that the votes of their proposers were registered in NA-130 even though they lived in NA-133. Both candidates were subsequently disqualified, leaving the PTI with no nominees in the Lahore race.
Responding to the rejection, the couple alleged in a press conference on Saturday that the ECP had shifted the votes of the proposers to a different constituency “on its own.” Earlier, appearing before the ECP, their counsel had argued that candidates should not be disqualified for the “error” or “negligence” of the election authority. The PTI has written to the ECP, seeking a fresh election schedule that would require the entire process to be started from scratch, contending that anomalies in the voters’ list must be fixed before the polls.
The ECP, meanwhile, maintains that the by-polls would proceed as scheduled on Dec. 5. The district election commissioner, on Sunday, said that the votes of both proposers–Bilal Hussain and Ghulam Murtaza—were registered in Kot Lakhpat, which had been part of NA-130 since 2018. In a statement, he claimed that both men had refused to change their votes to NA-133 when the voter list was revised in September 2020.
The NA-133 seat fell vacant last month upon the death of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) lawmaker Pervaiz Malik. The PMLN has fielded his widow, Shaista Malik, while the PPP is fielding Chaudhry Aslam Gill, and 17 other candidates are also in the running.