Identical RO rulings astound election tribunal judge

ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) expressed surprise at what appeared to be arbitrary decisions made by separate returning officers.
The tribunal was hearing an appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insad (PTI) leader Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, who was contesting his nomination form’s rejection.
Read More: CJP expresses his disapproval with the PHC’s order to remove RO
During the proceedings, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir was taken aback by the fact that the returning officers for the NA-47 and NA-48 constituencies were the same. Shaheen argued that the officers for the two constituencies were not the same. However, Justice Tahir noted that there was no difference in the orders issued by the two returning officers, implying a striking similarity that raised concerns about the decision-making process.
Shaheen defended his position, claiming that while the officers were different, the orders appeared to have been written in the same place, as evidenced by their exact replication.
Read More: Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry have been charged with contempt of court by ECP
Justice Arbab expressed concern about the lack of variation between the two orders, raising concerns about the independence and fairness of the decision-making process. Following both parties’ arguments, the Islamabad Election Tribunal reserved its decision on the matter.
Speaking to the media outside the IHC, PTI leader Niazullah Niazi shed light on the unusual circumstances surrounding the objection-raising process on December 30. He revealed that the returning officers scrutinized nomination papers for four hours that night and raised objections he called “ridiculous.”
He went on to say that the judge found some of the objections amusing. Notably, three different circles of returning officers issued identical decisions, adding another layer of suspicion to the overall electoral proceedings.
The decision of the Election Tribunal is now eagerly awaited, as concerns about the integrity of the election process in NA 47 and NA 48 remain. – INP

Leave a Comment