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60 per cent a significant turnout

May 20, 2013

EVEN 24 hours had not passed since the last vote was cast in Pakistan that the people came out on the streets, protesting against massive rigging in the elections.

Surprisingly, many foreign observers, who arrived in Pakistan a few weeks ago, are still mum. The Election Commission of Pakistan is so far just shrugging its shoulders looking the other way.

The elections in Karachi and Hyderabad were rigged, as indicated by videos uploaded on social network. This is besides personal experiences of the people.

In central and rural Punjab same reports are emerging but here the accused is the PML-N.

Although results were not yet announced officially by the ECP when the PML-N chief gave a victory speech and announced Nawaz Sharif as the new prime minister. Funny that some TV channels started announcing results even before the voting time ended, making the whole exercise all the more unreliable.

Historically, Pakistan has had its fair share of conspiracy theories, each one better than the last. This time the way the whole exercise of free and fair elections has been orchestrated is simply unprecedented.

One political party boycotted the elections in Karachi in protest against rigging, within a few hours of the inception of the polling. The remaining parties, though they did not boycott the process, started raising concerns and finally lodged complaints with the ECP.

PTI chief Imran Khan, in his recent speech, stated that his party was preparing a white paper on the issue. Some major concerns are:

If over 90,000 army personnel were indeed deployed for so-called sensitive areas, what were their orders besides being silent spectators? The ECP, with its dubious history, had no credibility even from the start. What measures they have taken to investigate and respond to such serious allegations? If these allegations are proved to be right, then what?

Considering the financial crisis the country is facing, is re-election viable, if at all? What is the guarantee that it will be ‘free and fair’ next time?

What was the purpose of this whole exercise except putting up a show at the cost of causing a turmoil in a country already facing crisis at all national and international fronts?

Of the 86 million, 36 million were new registered voters. A turnover of 60 per cent voters is a significant sign that people are indeed sick of the status quo and wanted a change. Is this the change they were looking for, only time will tell.

FAUZIA ASIM Bahawalpur


I WAS a candidate for PS 87, Shahbunder/Jati, Sindh. I am an unemployed youth and belong to a poor family. When I heard speeches about transparent, free and fair elections, I submitted my nomination papers with moral and financial help of my friends. The PS-87 elections were pre- and post-rigged by a wadera of the Jat community. He and his associates kidnapped our poling agents in 35 polling stations and rigged elections.

He got around 45,000 votes which is a record in the history of our constituency. I gave applications on May 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 to the returning officer in Sujawal about pre-and post-rigging, but the returning officer gave no response to any of my applications.

All staff deployed at polling stations was from Jat community. Fake staff of TMA Jati and Shahbunder were also deployed at all polling stations.

Unfortunately, the returning officer at Sujawal has played a role in rigging of elections because he gave no reply to our pre-and post-election complaints.

I appeal to the Election Commission of Pakistan to look into the matter and call re-polling at 35 polling stations.

I hope a poor man will be saved and belief of the community will be restored that elections are not only for big corrupt landlords, but it is for everyone.