The Election Commission Thursday rejected the PTI’s request for a recount in PP-7 (Rawalpindi-II). The decision was announced by a five-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. In the brief ruling, the CEC said the petitioner, PTI candidate Shabbir Awan, could neither prove any fraud or irregularity during the polls, nor was he able to state the reasons for the recount. Immediately after it was announced, PTI leader Shafqat Mahmood took to Twitter, calling the verdict “against the law”. “Loss of neutrality and integrity by the ECP has far-reaching consequences for democracy,” he said. According to the electoral watchdog’s spokesperson, the notification for the newly elected 19 members of the Punjab Assembly had been issued. The PTI had requested a recount of votes in PP-7, due to which the notification of the successful candidate of the constituency was not issued. The case was heard by the ECP on orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench, who had reserved the decision. The Election Commission has notified the success of 15 members of the PTI, three members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one independent candidate, says a news report. On Monday, the returning officer had summoned all the candidates who contested the by-election in PP-7 to his office after the PTI challenged the election result, citing a delay in the result’s announcement and a small difference between the votes of the winning candidate and the runner-up. According to unofficial results, PML-N’s candidate Raja Sagheer won the by-poll on the Punjab Assembly seat with a thin margin of 49 votes while PTI’s Col (retd) Shabbir Awan came in second. The ECP had set up 266 polling stations, comprising 787 polling booths, for 335,295 registered voters in the constituency. The PTI’s candidate, Shabbir Awan, had submitted an application to RO Rai Sultan Bhatti and had requested a recount. The constituency had also been declared sensitive by the Rawalpindi district administration, which had decided to finalise foolproof security arrangements, deploying extra force to control the law and order situation during the by-elections which were held on July 17. The PTI’s petition claimed the results were uploaded on the RTS system. The CEC observed that the PTI had not filed any application until 5pm on the day of the election. “You submitted a request to the R&I department but withdrew it after 10 minutes,” he noted, saying that even after that the PTI blamed the ECP. The CEC then called the officials of the R&I branch and asked them to submit a written account of everything that happened on the day of the polls, adding that all the matters should be clear. Awan’s counsel said that his client was present in court at the orders of the LHC.