KARACHI, May 14: As political parties are trying to cobble together new alliances to form governments in the centre and other provinces, the result of at least four National Assembly seats from Sindh and five provincial assembly seats is still not out, drawing serious criticism from some parties that suspect ‘post-poll rigging’ amid what they describe as illogical delays.
Defending the counting process, the authorities said it took time due to a hectic exercise that required satisfaction of all parties and claimed that it would complete the task within 24 hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday directed them to expedite the process.
“There are some technical issues that we are looking into,” Sindh Election Commissioner S.M. Tariq Qadri told Dawn on Tuesday evening.
“In one constituency, NA-210 (Jacobabad-III), re-polling has been ordered for certain polling stations. The same national assembly constituency is home to at least one provincial assembly seat that automatically comes under the renewed orders,” he added.
Similarly, there were some other issues that affected the process to some extent but the task was almost over with the final results likely to be completed within the next few hours, he said.
“Results have almost been compiled and we are in the process of consolidation. In a couple of districts where delays were witnessed, we deputed our regional officers to take care of the matter themselves,” said Mr Qadri.
Apart from NA-210 where re-polling at certain polling stations has been ordered by the ECP, results of three seats of the national assembly — NA-216 (Khairpur-II), NA-229 (Tharparkar-I) and NA-230 (Tharparkar-II) — were yet to be declared till Tuesday evening.
As the re-polling is scheduled for PS-17 (Jacobabad-V), results of some four Sindh Assembly seats, PS-31 (Khairpur-III), PS-62 (Tharparkar-III), PS-63 (Tharparkar-IV) and PS-130 (Malir district) are also awaited due to unexplained reasons.
The delay not only allows speculation to swirl around the transparency of the electoral exercise but also puts parties in a quandary as they remain unable to ascertain their position.
Among other contesting parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional has already come up with a strong reaction to the ‘overall rigging’ and also saw ‘something mysterious’ in the post-election process that mainly included counting of votes in Sindh districts.
“We have reason to believe that the results are being changed,” said PML-F leader Imtiaz Sheikh, who won PS-11 seat from Shikarpur.
“The candidates declared victorious at night find themselves not even runners-up the following morning,” he said.
“The delay is neither usual nor due to technical issues. We believe it’s deliberate and we have already conveyed our reservations to the Election Commission of Pakistan,” said Mr Sheikh.
He said the ECP must check the reasons behind the delay before arriving at the conclusion that it was due to ‘technical’ issues and that it was only consolidation that took time.
“It’s not for the sake of one party or the other. It’s for the sake of the democratic process and if the authorities are unable to assert their writ for that noble job then they should leave the place for others,” he insisted.