KARACHI, May 13: The Jamaat-i-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal accused the Election Commission of Pakistan of failing in its duty to conduct the May 11 polls in a free, fair and transparent manner and demanded that the chief election commissioner invalidate the polls and announce holding of re-elections in the city under the supervision of the army.
JI’s Karachi chief Mohammad Hussain Mehanti said that his party would challenge the elections held in Karachi in the Supreme Court (SC) as the polling process was hijacked in the city.
Addressing separate press conferences at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, the JI and JUI-F leaders said that only transparent elections could guarantee peace in the metropolis.
They claimed that the large-scale mismanagement witnessed in Saturday’s polling was never ever seen in any elections before.
Holding Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim responsible for the mismanagement, they claimed that polling officers had been arrested for rigging the elections by using rubber-made thumbs for impression on the ballot books and demanded that these polling officers were tried according to the law and results of these constituencies were not gazetted until the thumb impression of voters were verified from the Nadra record.
JI chief of Karachi chapter Mohammed Hussain Mehanti flanked by Nasrullah Shaji, Raja Arif Sultan and others said that his party had announced boycott of elections in protest against “open terrorism and making polling stations and the entire presiding staff hostage by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement activists”.
He said that the Sunni Ittehad Council, the Sunni Tehreek, the Muttahida Deni Mahaz had also boycotted the polling followed by similar announcement of boycott even by the MQM against the alleged stuffing of ballot papers in NA-248 in Lyari where “more powerful people than the MQM were involved in rigging”.
The JI leader claimed that on the polling day anyone who could have exercised his power to rig the polls had impacted the election process.
“The polling stations were changed on the night of May 10 and after taking the polling staff and presiding officers hostage, the MQM had posted their own men,” he claimed.
The polling material was distributed late at various polling stations and people who had come out from their homes to cast their vote were disappointed due to inordinate delays in start of the polling process, he added.
He said they wanted to be part of democratic process, but as the entire election process was taken hostage, they had no option left except to come out of the process.
Mr Mehanti claimed that the rigging in Karachi was so glaring that the election commission was compelled to concede its failure in holding transparent elections in Karachi.
He said despite demands by over 17 political parties for conducting the election under the supervision of the army, and despite commitment made by the caretaker chief minister to take up the matter with the authorities concerned, no attention was paid to make the entire election process transparent.
Earlier Raja Arif Sultan, in-charge of the JI election cell, said that the party workers had lodged many FIRs against presiding officers and other government functionaries, including police officials, who were arrested after raids by Rangers while indulging in stuffing the ballot boxes with fake votes.
JUI-F leader Qari Mohammed Usman, Maulana Mohammed Ghayas, Qazi Fakhrul Hasan and Maulana Omar Sadiq claimed that neither the voters were provided peaceful environment, nor arrangements were made to check the rigging which provided the “Thappa mafia” free hand.
They claimed in NA-239 and its PS-90 constituency, where the JUI had supremacy, the polling could not be started before 12.30pm and after start of the polling about 70 per cent of the polling stations were taken over by “Thappa mafia” which had also the cover of the police while polling agents were thrown out of the polling stations at gunpoint.
He said that on Monday even after 52 hours of the polling the results of NA-239 and PS-90 were not announced and on query the returning officer said that results of 40 polling stations were missing.
They said that they had informed sessions judge Shahnawaz Tariq, senior judge Ayaz Mustafa and a senior army official about reducing their “majority to minority”.
They claimed that some members of a political party who had brought a box and bags stuffed with ballot papers and were handing over the material to their party members were caught red-handed by workers of political parties and were handed over to session judge Shahnawaz Tariq.
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