SC suspends LHC order for recount in NA-131, Lahore

ISLAMABAD: Suspending the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) order to re-tabulate results of NA-131 constituency, the Supreme Court (SC) accepted PTI chief Imran Khan’s petition against the ruling for hearing.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique had petitioned for a recount in the closely contested NA-131 Lahore-9 constituency, from where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had emerged victorious. He had alleged that the presiding officer deliberately rejected hundreds of votes.

Bagging a total of 84,313 votes in the constituency, Imran had defeated Rafique by 680 ballots.

The PML-N leader had then requested the constituency’s returning officer (RO) to conduct a recount of the rejected votes. Following the re-tabulation, Imran’s margin of victory had reduced to 608 votes.

Later, Rafique had petitioned to re-tabulate results of the entire constituency which was rejected by the returning officer. The PML-N leader had then challenged the decision in LHC’s election tribunal.

On August 4, the LHC heard Rafique’s petition and ordered a recount in the constituency. The high court had also ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to withhold Imran’s victory notification for NA-131.

Yesterday, the electoral body had notified all successful candidates but withheld those challenged in courts, including Imran’s notification for the said constituency. The PTI legal counsel Babar Awan then contacted the apex court in this regard.

As the hearing went under way today, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that NA-131’s result had already been declared.
Rafique’s legal counsel contended that a recount request is valid if the victory margin is less than five per cent.
“Notice of political speeches should be taken on appropriate forum,” the top judge observed.

However, the apex court suspended LHC’s ruling for re-tabulation and accepted Imran’s plea for hearing.