Strengthening Democracy: Election Dispute Resolution Mechanism in Pakistan


December 28; Reform proposals on better implementation of existing legal provisions to deal with the Election Disputes were discussed at the Consultative Forum organized by PILDAT in collaboration with the UNDP on the subject of Election Dispute Resolution.

Ms. Mary Cummins in her welcome remarks, said that the UNDP has been working for more inclusive, transparent and accountable political institutions in Pakistan. Through its work, UNDP facilitates political actors and stakeholders to develop common ground on policy reforms by providing a platform such as this consultative forum.

Presenting the context behind the subject of the forum, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said that Election disputes are not new to Pakistan and the parliaments at different times had been deliberating and passing/amending laws to deal with the disputes arising in Elections. He said that Pakistan has a very robust legal framework to deal with election disputes. Referring to the constitution he said that Article 218 (3), Article 219 and Article 226 of the constitution give the right to ECP to hold elections, make election rules and conduct elections respectively. He also referred to Article 225 “No election to a House or a Provincial Assembly shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such tribunal and in such manner as may be determined by Act of Parliament” and said that this article has been given effect in Elections Act, 2017.

Mr. Mehboob compared election appeals referred to tribunals post-2013 and 2018 elections, noting a decrease from 45% to 31%. In 2013, 387 of 405 appeals reached the tribunals, while in 2018, 216 out of 302 did. Election disputes typically fall into three categories: pre-election (nomination issues), election day (vote count and code of conduct violations), and post-election (result challenges). The forum encouraged suggestions to enhance the legal framework for resolving these disputes.

Senior analyst Mr. Mujeeb Ur Rahman Shami proposed that session recommendations be sent to the Supreme Court and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for potential adoption, emphasizing that election dispute appeals should be promptly addressed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan without interfering in administrative matters like Returning Officers’ transfers, which fall under ECP’s purview.

Former MPA & Minister Mr. Mohsin Leghari argued for disqualifications based solely on significant evidence, while advocate Mr. Nasir Chohan suggested that consultative sessions would have been more beneficial during the delimitation phase and recommended including constituency numbers in voter registration data.

Participants recognized Pakistan’s robust legal framework for handling election disputes but highlighted the challenge of effective implementation due to the Election Commission’s limited enforcement capacity.

The session participants included:

From Kinnaird College for Women:

  • Ms. Dure Shehwar Bano, Lecturer, Political Sciences Department
  • Ms. Zoya Shaffey, Lecturer, Political Sciences Department
  • Ms. Sarena Israr, International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS)

From Lahore College for Women University (LCWU):

  • Dr. Ayesha Shahzad, Associate Professor, Political Sciences Department
  • Dr. Sadia Falki, Assistant Professor, Political Sciences Department

From Forman Christian (FC) College:

  • Dr. Muhammad Yousaf, Associate Professor, Political Sciences Department

Media and Civil Society:

  • Mr. Mujib ur Rehman Shami, Editor in Chief, Daily Pakistan
  • Mr. Salman Abid, Political Analyst
  • Ms. Mehmal Sarfraz, Analyst
  • Ms. Sajida Faryad, Sehar Welfare Organization
  • Ms. Tahira Habib, Co Director Operations, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  • Ms. Afshan Nazli, Sangat Development Foundation
  • Mr. Shahzad Haider Khan, Program Manager, Sangat Development Foundation
  • Ms. Nazia Sardar, Development Consultant
  • Ms. Pamila Bhatti, Development Consultant
  • Ms. Rabia Bajwa


  • Dr. Fareed Paracha, Naib Ameer-JIP
  • Mr. Mohsin Leghari, Former MPA/MNA/Senator
  • Ms. Faiza Ahmad Malik, Former MPA, PPP- Punjab Assembly


  • Mr. Khizer Hayat Gondal, Chief Reporter-Lahore, JANG
  • Ms. Nusrat Mirza, Columnist/SUCH TV

Legal Professionals:

  • Mr. Nasir Chohan, Advocate, Lahore High Court (LHC)
  • Mr. Imran Gillani, Advocate, Lahore High Court (LHC)