RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench on Monday rejected Sheikh Rashid’s plea challenging the election commission’s order of postponing polls in NA-60 Rawalpindi following life term awarded to PML-N candidate Hanif Abbasi.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had postponed the election in NA-60 after Sheikh Rashid’s main rival PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi was disqualified after being sentenced in the ‘ephedrine case’ last week. The Awami Muslim League (AML) chief challenged the ECP order in the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC .
Justice Mujahid Mustaq of the Rawalpindi bench upheld the election commission’s decision regarding postponement of the elections in NA-60. “Our petition has been rejected by the high court. We will go to the Supreme Court,” Sheikh Rashid’s lawyer said.
Shaikh Rashid’s stance was that the election can only be postponed by a returning officer (RO) if one of the candidates passes away. His petition stated that the ECP had no right to postpone the election for any other reason. The ECP, as well as a lawyer for another candidate from NA-60, Rashid Gardezi, had opposed Rashid’s petition. Gardezi’s lawyer had asked what would happen if the elections were given a go-ahead and Abbasi receives “hundreds of thousands of votes” in defiance of his disqualification.
LHC Justice Mujahid Mustaqeem inquired about the possibility of printing new ballot papers, at which the ECP’s lawyer said that it would take a lot of time to print new ballot papers for the 700,000 voters residing in the constituency. He further stated that all possibilities had been taken into consideration by the ECP before reaching the decision of postponing the election.
The ECP had on Sunday announced that polling in the NA-60 constituency has been postponed due to Abbasi’s disqualification by the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Court of Rawalpindi a day earlier. As the ECP is “bound to provide a level playing field to all candidates; the general election in NA-60 is postponed and will be conducted after the scheduled general elections, along with other postponed elections,” the commission had said.