Pakistan polls: Mismanagement, delay in vote counting and rigging claims shroud results in controversy

Peshawar: With reports of mismanagement, delay in counting of votes, and unavailability of Form 45—a document which has the details of the candidates and the votes they received—Pakistan's general election has been as controversial as predicted.

People queue up outside a polling station in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa. Riazul Haq/ 101Reporters

People queue up outside a polling station in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa. Riazul Haq/ 101Reporters

Complaints of poll rigging were made even before the elections, especially from erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) north and south Waziristan districts where members of popular Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Mohsin Dawar, Muhammad Ali Wazir and Abdullah Nangyal accused Election Commission of Pakistan and security forces of manipulating the election.

Mohsin filed a petition in the Peshawar High Court three days before polls against appointment of male staff at women's polling stations in the ultra-conservative society of the Pashtun tribals. He also complained that polling stations for women were set up almost 25 kilometres away from their respective areas. Dawar complained his supporters were being deprived of their national identity cards numbers.

Similarly, Muhammad Ali Wazir, a member of PTM, who is contesting election from south Waziristan, complained that Peace Committee (mostly pro-establishment militants) were harassing his supporters. Moreover, turnout was low due to threat alerts.

“Elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were held fairly but the manipulation started after polling ended,” said Ijaz Khan, former head of department of International Relations, University of Peshawar. “Parties that were made to lose should learn how to counter such manipulated elections. They should stand up today or their prospects will be bleak tomorrow.”

A presiding officer in Mardan, who requested anonymity, said that after they submitted ballot boxes to returning officers, they were forced to wait outside for three hours. “We don’t what happened inside,” the presiding officer added. The official results of major constituencies had not been declared even after 18 hours of counting.

Major political parties including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Awami National Party and Qaumi Watan Party rejected the results. “Mere statements won’t work,” said Haq Nawaz Khan, a senior journalist working at The Washington Post. “If there is any rigging they should rise up and protest peacefully.”

He said it was astonishing to see candidates like Fazal-ur-Rehman, who was leading with 20,000 votes, suddenly get news that they lost. “So far, final results from constituencies of Asfandyar Wali Khan and Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao have not arrived,” Nawaz said. He added that there are many questions as to why there has been so much of a delay.

 


Updated Date: Jul 26, 2018 21:48 PM

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