PTI information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari. — Photo ONLINE
PTI information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari. — Photo ONLINE

ISLAMABAD, May 21: Reiterating its demand for a recount in 25 National Assembly constituencies, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for charging a fee for carrying out verification of thumb impressions of voters.

Speaking at a news conference at the party’s Central Secretariat, senior PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and party’s information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari termed the decision of the ECP and National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to collect the fee from the complainants “unfair and unpleasant”.

Both the PTI leaders held returning officers (ROs) responsible for the alleged rigging and misappropriation in the May 11 general elections.

Mr Tareen, who lost the election to a National Assembly seat (NA-154) of Lodhran, explained to the media personnel how, in his opinion, the election staff manipulated the poll results in several constituencies. He urged the ECP to refurnish results for several constituencies, including NA-154 (Lodhran). According to official results of NA-154, an independent candidate, Muhammad Siddique Khan Baloch, had won the elections with 86,177 votes, followed by 75,955 votes by Jahangir Tareen. The PML-N candidate, Syed Rafiuddin Bukhari, stood third in the race with 45,634 votes.

Mr Tareen said that according to initial results which had been widely published in the national media he was winning the election until the morning of May 12.

However, he alleged the results were later tampered with by the returning officer through “misappropriations and under the table rigging”.

“My application for recount had been kept pending for three days after May 14 while my access to the record had also been denied by the election officials,” he said provided some “documented evidence” to the media.

The PTI leader said out of 220 bags containing ballot papers, the seals of 170 bags were broken while counterfoils of around 26,500 ballot papers were without the signatures and seals of the assistant presiding officers. “Marked electoral rolls from five polling stations were missing while 934 unused ballot papers were also not mentioned in the record,” he said.

The PTI leader was hopeful that he would win the elections despite all evidence of rigging and misappropriations, if a recount was ordered.

Dr Shireen Mazari blasted the ECP for its scheme and subsequently potential cost of thumb impressions’ audit through the Nadra. “Charging Rs10 or Rs15 per vote from the aggrieved candidate who lodges an application for thumb impression audit owing to rigging or misappropriation in the polls is explicitly unfair,” she said.

“It is not only against the principle of fairness in the polls but will make justice very expensive or may be impossible in some cases.”

She asked the ECP to immediately withdraw this decision.

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Comments (29) (Closed)


Shahpur
May 22, 2013 07:15am

This is unconstitutional by many democratic countries system. But I am sure lot of Pakistani Lawyers are looking into this. Court can settle the constitutionality issue.

MOA
May 22, 2013 07:21am

ECP is being run by a bunch of jokers. I dont think they were expecting such a strong stand against their incompetence. I personally feel that the ECP knew before hand about this rigging scheme and now it doesn't know how to get out of this mess.

zafar
May 22, 2013 07:28am

This is really a pathetic idea on part of ECP. Seeking justice in Pakistan is already a costly proposition and given the quantum of rigging and false ballot papers, the cost could run into millions. WE DESERVE A FAIR ELECTION DONT MAKE MONEY OUT OF PEOPLES MISERIES

ManzoorDADA
May 22, 2013 07:35am

A fee? what a joke,, This election was a disaster,, it wasn't an election it was just making fun on poor Pakistanis. Re election has to be done without any fee, and the fake self elected Member must be disqualified for the rest of his/her life. I still believe,Imran Bhai won the entire thing, Nawaz Chacha has been selected not elected. Pakistani election is a shame on earth.

Raj
May 22, 2013 08:06am

Asking the parties to pay for the expenses for a recount is entirely reasonable. Experience has shown at least in neighbouring countries that it helps reducing frivolous demands made by the defeated candidates. In more advanced democracies like USA , in some state automatic recount is done if th gap between and losers is say less tan 1% or a similar low number.

Abid
May 22, 2013 08:23am

Shame on ECP for most rigged election in Pakistan history under their corrupt setup and also Shame on ECP for playing in corrupt hands and doing nothing to fix their own mistakes.

No respect for ECP and Fakhru G.... all your respect is lost in my eyes....

Masroor
May 22, 2013 08:26am

ECP is trying to make hay while the sun shines. They already got paid by PML-N and are now trying to get other parties to cough up some.

Hasan
May 22, 2013 08:42am

Let them charge but if error or rigging is proved, the ECP shall refund the fee with a premium.

Anees
May 22, 2013 09:04am

The ECP is planning two two things: a). Either people forget about the elections now and accept whatever has happened. OR b). Recover some of its expenses in this way.

JAVAID KHAN
May 22, 2013 09:05am

Above report is a proof of a massive scale rigging in the 2013 election.Our EC must take appropriate steps to restore confidence of the public on this important institution of Pakistan.The candidates as well as presiding officers involved in this rigging must be given examplary punishment to discourage such incidents in forth comming local bodies elections.

In Karachi,elections were any thing but free or transparent.Re polling must be done to bring forward true representatives of this unfortunate city of Pakistan.

AAK
May 22, 2013 09:06am

If it is proved that there was rigging no fees should be charged...If results are accurate the applicant should pay the fees as he has wasted time..

Ghalib Khan
May 22, 2013 09:18am

Why shouldn't their be a fees, , I feel all political parties should be charged for the the development of the Nadra Software also. Why should it come out of tax payers pocket, up-till now their has been now work done by ant political party for the development of the country

First show us results then ask the tax payers to pay for your glory.

Sad Pakistani
May 22, 2013 09:20am

So if I get robbed, I have to pay money to police to investigate and catch the thief!

Nadeem
May 22, 2013 09:30am

another politician who wins and slams everything - acts like a kid who even after mandate acts like in opposition and victim. Pakistan needs forward looking and positive leaders.

Sheraz
May 22, 2013 09:52am

In America if you ask for recount then you have to pay if you lose but if you win then the cost is on state (Pakistani gov). So, again if you ask for recount and you fail then you pay for it but if you win then you don't pay. I think ECB should adopt the same policy.

Power Point
May 22, 2013 10:08am

Whiners of the Nation, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your dignity.

azhar Piracha
May 22, 2013 11:14am

For five years we were ruled by thugs, thieves, land grabbers and drug runners had hoped that the EC was competent and their miseries would be over alas the EC has proved to be an extension of the previous government.

Hasan Hasni
May 22, 2013 11:34am

Fee is reasonable to be charged on fail challenge to candidates. This shall also be the case in courts as well. This will reduce number of challenges/review

WAJ
May 22, 2013 12:22pm

Please learn to pay for services, there is No Free Lunch, Rs. 10 per vote multiplied by 50000 votes is 5lacs, what is the big deal? You are paying for your rights. Although the most learned members of all parties, sometimes PTI acts immature and irrational. Plus, thank ECP for allowing the verification of thumbprints, which is in truth a hoax, a software that is already been made years back, given a 2 weeks time for development which is the biggest joke, and at a cost of 90 Million Rupees. Lies Lies and Govt. of Pakistan.

adeel
May 22, 2013 01:19pm

In case of complainant victory fee should be reimbursed.

Shahzad
May 22, 2013 12:56pm
Shame on ECP! Make me wonder, who are they really with?
Ashar
May 22, 2013 02:27pm
Another joke from establishment. There style is to make processes either very slow or delay as much as possbile so people gets fed up.
Husain Jan
May 22, 2013 05:17am
ECP's decision to charge the complainant for verification is absolutely non-sense type and tantamount to denial of justice. Moreover, why the requests for recount are not being accepted is also a big question. When will the ECP wake-up. It's now or never for Fakhru bhai who still has a chance to save his image from getting totally reversed.
syed
May 22, 2013 06:03am
I support PTI, but his is nonsense. What about privacy of a voter. It is not all about winning. Why do not they make elections like people have to shout whom they voted for.
MUHAMMAD
May 22, 2013 06:12am
I FULLY AGREE WITH DR. MAZARI.... IT IS THE DUTY OF E.C.P. TO PROVIDE PROOF THAT COMMISSION CONDUCTED FREE AND FAIR ELECTION. THE CREDIBILITY AND HONOUR OF E.C.P. IS ON STAKE. CHARGING FEE OF Rs. 10 OR 15 PER CHECKING OF THUMB IMPRESSION MEANS THAT COMMISSION WANT TO CONCEAL THE RIGGING / IRREGULARITIES DONE IT'S PART. WHAT HAPPENED THROUGHOUT PAKISTAN DURING ELECTION INDICATES INEFFICIENCY ON THE PART OF ECP. THERE HAD NEVER BEEN SO MUCH PROTEST AND CRY ABOUT RIGGING SCANDALS AS IS ON THIS ELECTION. LOOSERS AND WINNERS - BOTH - ARE PROTESTING. E.C.P. SHOULD RISE UP TO SATISFY THE NATION.
Riaz Ahmad
May 22, 2013 07:51am
It is the responsibility of ECP to conduct transparent, open and honest elections. If PTI is proved wrong, than PTI must pay and apologise for the trouble as penalty for unnecessary fuss, on the other hand, if PTI is vindicated, than the ECP must pay the cost, the old geriatric must apologise to PTI and the nation and withdraw his premature claim of conducting free and fair election.
Akram
May 22, 2013 10:09am
the reality is if ECP doesn't introduce a charging mechanism every single person who lost anywhere in the country will want a recount. If its free the candidates will not care about cost to the nation, they are only in it for themselves. The best formula is if the aggrieved party are proved correct in that they would have won without rigging, then the cost should be borne by the state, otherwise the cost of recount should be borne by the parties. It will make people think twice about lumping the bill on the state.
Zaman Haroon
May 22, 2013 11:28am
The Chief Election Commissioner along with all his cronies must pack up their bags and go home. Asking for money to recount is admission of guilt. There is ample evidence to suggest that the polls were rigged. Zaman
Imran Jiwani
May 22, 2013 11:48am
What a joke. Really this is what we should expect from ECP? What about the open evidence of rigging? Shouldn't ECP be fined for that or their officials be demoted or penalised in some way for not able to do their job?