DADU, May 12: A presiding officer, an ASI, a police constable and polling staff of the Mangwani polling station were caught stamping ballot papers in favour of Pakistan Peoples Party candidates for NA-233 and PS-77 at the Zarai Tarqqiati Bank building in Mehar during a raid by police and personnel of law enforcement agencies on Saturday evening.
About 40,000 ballot papers, open ballot boxes and stamps were recovered from their possession and a police mobile van and a car were found parked outside the bank, according to police.
Police carried out the raid and arrested the poll manipulators after receiving a complaint from the chief polling agent of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Mohammad Ayoob Ali Jatoi, and registered an FIR on Sunday against presiding officer Qurban Joyo, ASI Kazi Arif Mujeeb Leghari, police constable Ali Akbar, other polling staff of the Mangwani police station, Ghulam Abbas Gilal, Ali Asghar, Ahmad, Manthar, Pir Bux and Waheed Solangi.
The complainant stated in the FIR that he had informed police on Saturday evening after receiving information that the polling staff of Mangwani and a number of policemen were stamping ballots in favour of PPP candidates at the bank’s building.
During the raid, he said, police and personnel of law enforcement agencies found 40,000 ballot papers, open ballot boxes and stamps in the bank and police mobile van and a car parked outside.
Dadu SSP Noorul Haq Rind told journalists that ballot papers, ballot boxes and seals were taken to the Mehar police station. These were recovered from the arrested officials when they were stamping ballot papers, he said, adding police were investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, a complete shutterdown strike was observed in Mehar town on a call given by the PML-N and party activists held a demonstration before the police station.
PML-N candidate for NA-233 and PS-76 Liaquat Ali Jatoi who led the protest appealed to the chief election commissioner to announce re-election in NA 233, NA-232, PS-74, 75, 76 and 77.
Mr Jatoi also lodged a complaint at the office of returning officer in Mehar, accusing PPP candidates of rigging election results. He submitted a copy of the FIR to the RO as a piece of evidence to prove his claim. He said he did not accept results of elections and announced a shutterdown strike in all towns of the district against rigging.
Candidates for PS-74 (Dadu), as well as the PML-N’s Syed Zaffar Ali Shah, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Syed Mohammad Shah, independent candidates Baban Panhwar and Aijaz Mallah, also led a demonstration along with thousands of supporters at the SSP chowk on Sunday in protest against election results for NA-232, PS-74, 75, 76 and 77. They said they rejected what they described as rigged results.
The PPP candidate for NA-233, Imran Zaffar Leghari, rejected all allegations about rigging levelled against PPP candidates and said the opposition parties should accept the results. The PPP had won all the seats in the previous general election and they had succeeded in retaining them with majority votes, he said.
The PPP candidate for NA-232, Rafique Ahmed Jamali, said that Dadu had always been a PPP fort and people had always voted for the Bhuttos’ candidates. He dismissed reports about rigging as unfounded allegations.