The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday set aside the proceedings initiated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the then district police officer (DPO), deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner and others over alleged irregularities in the Daska by-election held on the National Assembly NA-75, Sialkot-IV seat. Justice Shujaat Ali Khan while issuing a detailed judgment observed that “Upon declaration of the fate of the election in the constituency, the petitioners no more remained election officials, hence, the commission has no jurisdiction to initiate proceedings against them. Resultantly, all these writ petitions are accepted”. Upon the death of MNA Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah from NA-75, Sialkot-IV by-polls for the constituency were scheduled for February 19, 2021. After completion of the polling process, out of 360 polling stations, the results of 340 polling stations were received on form-45, on February 20, 2021, and that of the remaining 20 polling stations were not received within the prescribed time. Syeda Nosheen Iftikhar, one of the contesting candidates in the constituency, approached the ECP with the request to withhold the election result whereupon the commission halted the announcement of the election result. Finally, the ECP scrapped the election in the constituency while declaring it null and void and ordered fresh elections on March 18, 2021. Being aggrieved by the ECP order, Ali Asjad Malhi, one of the contesting candidates, filed a civil appeal before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On the other hand, the commission ordered for a fact-finding Inquiry by a committee constituted under the convenorship of Joint Provincial Election Commissioner Saeed Gul which gave its findings on September 29, 2021. Pursuant to the report of the fact-finding committee, the commission on February 14, 2022, filed a complaint under sections 184, 186, 187 read with sections 188 and190 of the Elections Act, 2017 (the Act, 2017) as well as under sections 365, 120-B, 171-F, 164, 386 & 368 of PPC, before the district & session judge in Sialkot against certain individuals, including some of the petitioners. Meanwhile, the apex court dismissed the appeal filed by Malhi through short order followed by detailed reasoning, issued in the month of August 2022 with a direction to the ECP to hold an inquiry into the matter and unearth the means used by perpetrators for disappearance of 20 presiding officers on the day of the by-election. The ECP on January 5, 2022, ordered for initiation of inquiry against the petitioners and issued show cause notices to them with a direction to submit their written reply. Aggrieved by the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against them by the commission, the petitioners filed the petitions. The counsels of the petitioners implored the court that upon annulment of election in the constituency by the electoral body, their clients being no more election officials, as defined under section 2(xviii) of the Act, 2017, no proceedings could be conducted by the commission against them. ECP questions appointment of Karachi, Hyderabad administrators: The Sindh chapter of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday took notice of recent administrative appointments made in Karachi and Hyderabad despite a ban imposed by the commission. According to a private news channel, the Sindh ECP wrote to the Sindh Local Government secretary and questioned the recent appointments including administrators of Hyderabad, and two districts of Karachi including Karachi East and Korangi. The ECP reminded the Local Government Department that it had imposed a ban on the transfers and appointments ahead of the second phase of local government elections in these areas scheduled for next month. “The orders of the three administrators should be reversed or temporarily suspended,” the ECP stated. Implementing the PPP and MQM-P agreement, the Sindh government had on Monday appointed Muhammad Farooq as the new administrator of Hyderabad city for a year. He was previously working at the Workers’ Welfare Board (WWB). Hyderabad deputy commissioner was managing affairs of the city as an additional charge prior to the new appointment. This follows the appointment of the new administrator of Karachi earlier this month. Subsequently, administrators for Karachi East and Korangi districts were also announced in keeping with the agreement.