Sunday, February 28, 2021

ECP orders inquiry into NA-75 Sialkot by-poll outcomes after presiding officers go ‘lacking’

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has ordered an inquiry into the outcomes of the by-election held in Sialkot’s NA-75 after a number of presiding officers allegedly went ‘lacking’ quickly.

The district returning officer and returning officer have been tasked with the inquiry. Both officers had reported to the ECP that the outcomes of 20 polling stations within the NA-75 by-election are suspected to have been rigged.

ECP issued an announcement Saturday afternoon after leads to the constituency had been withheld earlier within the day on  PML-N’s request amid an argument surrounding 23 presiding officers who had allegedly ‘gone lacking’.

The ECP assertion says makes an attempt had been made to contact a number of presiding officers, however no response was obtained.

ECP mentioned the chief election commissioner tried contacting the Punjab IG, commissioner and deputy commissioner on receiving data from the district returning officer (DRO) and returning officer (RO) concerning the presiding officers who had ‘gone lacking’.

The election commissioner, nonetheless, obtained no response.

ECP mentioned the Punjab chief secretary was contacted round 3am after which he gave assurances of tracing the ‘lacking’ presiding officers and polling baggage for the NA-75 outcomes. But he later turned unavailable.

The presiding officers finally appeared with the polling baggage by 6am.

ECP additionally directed the provincial election commissioner and joint provincial election commissioner to reach the workplace of the DRO and RO in order that “[we] can reach the bottom of the matter and records can be completely protected”.

“This matter looks like a weakness of the administration and law enforcement agencies,” the ECP mentioned.

Here is ECP’s full assertion on the delay within the NA-75 by-poll outcomes

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