End to deadlock not in sight: Recounting case put off again

PESHAWAR, Nov 13: The election tribunal here on Wednesday again put off further hearing of the recounting case between MPA Ghulam Muhammad and his runner-up Sardar Hussain to November 19. A source who was present during the hearing of the matter told ChitralToday that in a bid to delay the outcome of the case as much as possible, Ghulam Muhammad has filed a review petition with the tribunal against the formation of the commission to recount the rejected and postal ballots in the constituency. Ghulam Muhammad’s lawyers were also of the opinion that the two-member commission appointed by the tribunal had also acted beyond its mandate by depriving the MPA of his 13 postal ballot votes only because they had the prefix of Haji with his name. The lawyers maintained that initially the runner-up Sardar Hussain of the PPP had pleaded to the tribunal that his votes had been given to his namesake Syed Sardar Hussain Shah, an independent, in the May 11 elections. So the tribunal formed the commission to look into this matter only. But the two-member commission during the recounting of the rejected and postal ballots did not find any votes cast in favour of the PPP candidate going to his namesake. However, the commission deprived Ghulam Muhammad of his genuine postal ballots which had the prefix of Haji. It may be noted that the commission after the recounting put Sardar Hussain ahead of Ghulam Muhammad with one vote’s lead. The source said that the MPA had succeeded in delaying the matter as now the tribunal would hear the arguments of the lawyers in at least two to three hearings before declaring its decision. It is confirmed that the tribunal had itself constituted the commission for the recounting of the votes and cannot undo it. But the basic objective of Ghulam Muhammad is to take time and keep on occupying the seat. Even if the tribunal gives a verdict against him, he has the right of appeal with the superior courts. “So I can’t see an end to the deadlock in the immediate future,” said the source while talking to ChitralToday.]]>

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