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All said and done, people voted

May 20, 2013

NA 253 experienced problems of rigging as did other major constituencies in Karachi, such as NA 250.

I spent eight hours witnessing strange things being done. Those present in the Income Tax Building in Gulistan e Jauhar, Block 15, can testify that men who identified themselves as party workers of an ethnic party screamed at women, insulted them, removing the woman officer on duty by force, lying to both old and young citizens (who were not in the vote bank) about their polling booths, delaying the voting process, hooting and calling vulgar names when announcing a rival party’s boycott and telling people Karachi would be doomed were it not for them.

Despite that, there were men and women of all ages who refused to move when they were pressured to do so, who encouraged each other to be patient and stand their ground. There were women I stood shoulder to shoulder with, demanding what is our constitutional right as citizens of Pakistan. There were young people, girls especially, who recorded and documented all the illegal things happening on the floor I was on. So, if videos surface from NA 253, they are not tampered and I can vouch for them. When I was taken to another quiet room to vote, there were ordinary citizens acting as volunteers, and many Pakistanis who managed the lines and coordinated the voting process.

Despite the rigging, there were people who stayed and voted. Despite the rigging, people continued to come from their homes. They did not lose faith even then. I spoke to old ladies coming in despite of their knee surgeries, old men carrying their inhalers and couples who had left young kids at home. There were people praying even in that chaos.

The Election Commission of Pakistan should seek the help of Rangers to assist in the election process next time.



WHILE assessing the results of the elections, I have noticed that winning the majority by the PML-N in the Punjab Assembly, as well as in the National Assembly, is not the victory of the ‘lion’ as it is being considered by supporters of the PML-N.

Instead, it is the victory of ‘electables’. It is notable that the PML-N welcomed every member who left other parties, especially the PPP, and joined it before elections.

While distributing tickets the PML-N played the game cleverly and gave tickets to those who were and are strong in their areas/constituencies. That was why many PML-N jiyalas became angry with the leadership of the party for not giving tickets to them and their candidates.

On the other hand, the PTI did not adopt the same path and thus committed many mistakes, keeping in view Pakistani politics. Later, the PTI leadership said they had made mistakes while issuing tickets.

It is the result of the game cleverly played by the PML-N that it has won the majority not only in Punjab but also in the centre.

It is also notable that though the PTI’s tsunami has failed in Punjab, it has succeeded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The reason behind this is that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are politically more aware than hose of Punjab. They have always tested a new party in elections.

If one party failed to deliver, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa don’t support it in the next elections. They have tested the PML-N, the PPP, the MMA, the ANP and this time they have given mandate to the PTI.

If the PTI does not deliver, they will surely change their mind in the next elections.


300 per cent turnout

PREVIOUS record indicates that the average turnout has been around 40 per cent. And another fact regularly repeated was that the youth kept itself away from politics.

Imran Khan motivated the youth. He kept on repeating that if the youth cast their vote and the turnout touched 60 per cent, he was bound to succeed and the struggle for promised ‘change’ was bound to come. The voter turnout was 60 per cent. But the youths are shocked because their vote has disappeared. Or they now believe that a daylight robbery has been committed on their votes. They are out on the streets protesting. The protesting youths are all educated.

Another fact highlighted by survey reports televised reveals that “throughout the country on many polling stations the votes discovered from the ballot boxes were around from 100 per cent to 300 per cent ‘more’ than the actual registered vote.”

There is evidence that the staff deployed to ensure proper voting were involved in rigging or were found facilitating rigging.

It is incumbent upon the Election Commission of Pakistan to re-establish its integrity by sending all the polled votes of Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad to Nadra to check and verify with the counterfoil of the ballot paper whereon the presiding officer must have recorded the CNIC number and the thumb impression of the voter.

Such verification, if detects foul play, would help Fakru Bhai and his team to ascertain how ‘rigging’ must have been engineered at other places as well. Instead of this foolproof approach, the ECP adopts the bureaucratic tactic by declaring that ‘whoever is not satisfied with election results should approach election tribunals’.

In other words, the ECP, being a lethargic body, would thus prefer to abdicate from its ‘stated duties to insure transparent and rigging-free elections’.

Would this stand of the ECP end the youths’ protest?