Peshawar: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has stopped the returning officer of Bannu from re-counting votes in Bannu city tehsil where Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazl (JUI-F) candidate was elected mayor.
Meanwhile, a recount in Lakki Marwat’s Betani Tehsil has led to the victory of the JUI-F candidate.
In a related development, the supporters of KP transport minister held a sit-in with several dozen protesters in Bannu after a case was registered against Shah Muhammad Khan’s brother and others over alleged snatching of polling material in Bakka Khel tehsil of Bannu.
The ECP postponed polling in Bakka Khel on Sunday after the violence.
In Bannu, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)’s Iran Ullah Khan Durrani was declared to have won the mayoral election. He had secured 59,844 votes as per the Form-19 issued by the returning officer.
However, the returning officer announced the re-count of votes on a request from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate. The recount was to begin on Wednesday morning at the assistant commissioner Bannu’s office.
JUI-F’s Durrani went to the ECP against the returning officer’s decision.
Durrani’s lawyer told the commission that there was no application for recount on record to show that the recount is being done on the request of any party.
As per the law, the re-count can only be done on the written request of contesting candidate or the election agent and if the margin of victory is less than 5% or 10,000 votes, whichever is lesser, the lawyer argued.
PTI candidate Iqbal Jadoon Khan got 47,398 votes, which is 21% less than the number of votes Durrani secured, according to JUF.
The ECP issued a notification and stayed the process of re-count. It also directed the returning officer to appear before the commission with the application for the recount, the notices issued to the candidates/agents and the result of the recount.
The commission will take up the matter on Dec. 28, 2021.