KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai. - A file photo

PESHAWAR: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding re-polling in PK-23, Shangla constituency over low women turnout.

By-election in PK-23, Shangla will be held on September 10 after the Election Commission declared that the turnout of women voters in the constituency was below the mandatory 10 percent voting. The PTI candidate Shaukat Yousafzai, who had won the election corroding to preliminary results, had challenged the decision in the apex court. He argued that women did not cast their votes in Shangla under the local traditions and no one barred them from voting.

However, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court rejected Shaukat Yousafzai’s petition.

Former provincial minister Shaukat Yousafzai had emerged victorious from the constituency with 17,933 votes defeating Muhammad Rishad of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) who got 15,533 votes. However, the notification of Mr Yousafzai’s victory was not issued due to women voting issue. According to election laws, if among the total votes cast in a constituency, the share of women in the final count is less than 10 percent, the results of the polls may be declared void.

The situation in the constituency is now going against the PTI candidate as all the opposition parties have decided to support his opponent candidate. Therefore, it will be a big challenge for Mr Yousafzai to retain this seat. He is considered an influential leader within the PTI ranks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to his closeness to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Currently, he has been given an important responsibility of spokesman for the chief minister of KP.