ISLAMABAD: The Election Tribunals and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have decided 198 petitions out of 410 post-election petitions till January 31, 2014, said a press release issued here by Free and Fair Election Network on Thursday.
The election tribunals established across the country are falling behind the legally-stipulated time of 120 days for the disposal of petitions in at least 198 cases (51% of total cases). The tribunals’ time does not start with the date of submission of the petition with the ECP, rather the legal clock starts when they receive a petition from the ECP.
The ECP started forwarding the petitions to the tribunals in June, 2013, as there is no time limit provided in the law for the ECP to forward or dismiss the petitions.
Hence, the Lahore Tribunal received at least two petitions on January 29, 2014.
The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has deployed 18 trained non-partisan lawyers in 14 cities, including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Dera Ismail Khan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Loralai, Hub, Quetta to observe the proceedings in the tribunals set up by the ECP.
ECP received a total of 409 petitions whereas one petition was directly filed with Election Tribunal Lahore, out of which 25 were dismissed by the ECP itself during scrutiny of petitions.
FAFEN’s observation data suggests that the ECP had referred as many as 385 petitions to the tribunals as of January 31, 2014.
Around 45% (173 out of 385) of the cases were decided or disposed of by the tribunals till January 31, 2014.
Of these, 10 petitions were accepted; 17 dismissed as withdrawn; 14 dismissed due to non-prosecution; 12 dismissed after complete trial whereas 92 cases were dismissed on technical grounds making the petitions not-maintainable.
Reasons for dismissal of 28 petitions are not known to FAFEN due to non-availability of the copies of orders.
The Lahore tribunal received 56 (14%) petitions, highlighting the high prevalence of result-related disputes followed by Peshawar tribunal, (40) and Faisalabad, (39) petitions. Although electoral disputes in Karachi echoed considerably in media, the Karachi tribunal received only 30 petitions.
The petitioners in 248 cases have sought the election of the winning candidates be declared void and they be declared winners instead.
Among other reliefs, 122 petitions seek disqualification of the returned candidates and re-polling in the constituency.