The election results were officially notified on May 22, meaning the candidates had until July 6 to submit petitions with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) constituted 14 tribunals (13 working) across the country to redress election related complaints of contesting candidates. The commission received 402 petitions in all, according to media reports. FAFEN has deployed 18 trained non-partisan lawyers to observe the proceedings in the tribunals set up by the ECP.
By September 30, these tribunals had received and heard at least 339 petitions related to national and provincial assemblies.
Many of the petitions filed with the ECP have been done so on multiple grounds and have sought more than one relief.
FAFEN does not have the complete breakdown of the 339 petitions due to accessibility issues. There are 40 petitions for which the grounds they were filed on were not available. Similarly, there are 71 petitions for which details of the reliefs they sought were not available to FAFEN.
However, of the cases whose records are available, 37 challenged the nomination process, 82 challenged the qualification of the winning candidates, 194 made allegations of a corrupt or illegal practice by people other than the returned candidate and 220 directly accused the winning candidate of being involved in a corrupt or illegal practice to sway the results of the poll.
Moreover, 179 petitions sought disqualification of the winning candidate and the petitioner to be declared as the winning candidate instead. Another 73 sought a re-poll in the constituency. The counting of ballot papers for the entire or parts of a constituency were sought in 67 petitions. Thirty-five petitions wanted a re-examination of the votes declared invalid, while 48 petitions sought re-polling at certain polling stations. Thirty-eight petitions sought reliefs other than the five categories identified above.
A little over 19% (65) cases were decided or disposed of by tribunals by September 30, 2013. However all except one were disposed of on technical grounds making the petitions unsupportable.
The Lahore tribunal has been the most active, having received 48 petitions in all, followed by Peshawar and Faisalabad. The Karachi tribunal received the least number of petitions, despite media reports pointing to a number of issues in the May 11general election.
Independent candidates filed the most petitions across the country (89). Party-wise, members of the three top parties in the National Assembly filed the bulk of petitions. PML-N members filed a total of 64 petitions, almost evenly distributed across the 13 tribunals. PTI members followed with 51 petitions. Members of PPPP, the second-largest party in the National Assembly, filed 41 of the 339 petitions, almost evenly distributed across the country. JUI-F members filed 27 petitions in all, mostly in Peshawar (10) and Loralai (nine).
Similarly, a party-wise analysis of the petition filed against winning candidates shows that members of PML-N – the party with the majority seats in the National Assembly (over 50%) – had the lion’s share of petitions.
Over a third (126, or 37.17%) of the 339 petitions were filed against returned candidates belonging to PML-N. Most of these petitions were filed in Punjab (over 83%). The highest number of petitions filed against them were in Lahore (42), followed by Faisalabad (26), Multan (16) and Bahawalpur (15). There were no petitions filed against PML-N candidates in Hyderabad or Sukkur.
PPPP returned candidates were nominated in 45 petitions, mostly in Sindh – 24 petitions in Sukkur and 20 petitions in Hyderabad. The third-most nominated party was the PTI, with 29 petitions making the party’s winning candidates respondents, mostly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar 13, Abbottabad five and Dera Ismail Khan 3). JUI-F winners were nominated in 18 petitions (mostly in Loralai, Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar), followed by PkMAP (12, all in Loralai), PML (eight), ANP and MQM (five each), and PML-F (four). Winning candidates belonging to other parties including regional and/or smaller parties were nominated in 17 petitions.
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