NA-128 Election Result: LHC Halts Notification Amidst Allegations of Irregularities

The outcome of the National Assembly election in Lahore's NA-128 constituency hangs in the balance after the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a stay order, preventing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from declaring the official result. This development follows a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidate Salman Akram Raja, challenging the victory of Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) candidate Awn Chaudhry.

According to the ECP's initial results, Chaudhry secured 172,576 votes, narrowly defeating Raja with his 159,024 votes. However, Raja contends that discrepancies occurred during the counting process, leading to an inaccurate tabulation of votes. His legal team alleges they were barred from witnessing the vote count and denied crucial documentation like Form 45, raising concerns about transparency and potential manipulation.

Raja's petition highlights the discrepancy between results recorded on Form 45, used at individual polling stations, and Form 47, reflecting the final constituency-wide tally. His lawyers argue that based on Form 45 data, Raja had a clear lead, raising questions about the legitimacy of the final result derived from Form 47.

The ECP, through its counsel, maintains that Raja should have first approached the commission with any complaints before resorting to legal action. They argue that Raja's presence at the Returning Officer's office invalidates his claims of being excluded from the process. However, Raja counters that his presence did not translate to active observation or access to critical documents, potentially hindering his ability to effectively monitor the proceedings.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi's order to stay the result signifies the court's acknowledgment of the seriousness of the allegations. While a final verdict is yet to be reached, this development underscores the importance of ensuring transparency and addressing concerns regarding potential irregularities in the electoral process.

The case has become a focal point for both PTI and IPP supporters, with each side closely monitoring the legal proceedings. The final decision by the LHC will not only determine the winner of the NA-128 seat but also set a precedent for addressing future electoral disputes and upholding the integrity of Pakistan's democratic system.

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