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Impressions of May 11 voting

May 16, 2013

AFTER seeing the results of the polls, one feels sorry for many candidates losing their seats with close margins. On a broader scale, a party may not get any seat despite its candidates giving close fights or securing second positions in most of the seats.

For example, it is likely that a party securing 40 per cent of the total votes cast may not get even a single seat in any assembly. This is because there is something inherently wrong somewhere in our voting system.

A much fairer system in vogue in many countries is that of proportional representation. In this system each political party is represented in parliament in proportion to the number of people who voted for it.

For example, a party securing 60 per cent of the votes cast should be asked by the Election Commission of Pakistan to nominate 60 individuals in that particular assembly of 100 seats.

These individuals will, of course, have to meet the conditions laid down in Articles 62 and 63. As a result, each party will nominate its members according to the percentage of votes it acquired out of the total votes polled, against the total number of seats available in any particular assembly.

This seems to be a much fairer system. It is strongly recommended that the next government should seriously think about this issue so that a more just system of elections can be evolved before the next elections.


Urban warlordism THIS is apropos reports about massive rigging in Karachi and complaints in few constituencies of Lahore. No individual or group is more important than the state of Pakistan and its integrity.

The basic structural foundation on which democracy thrives and institutions can be built is a transparent, fair and clean electoral process.

Minor complaints of electoral rigging can be endured. But the manner and defiance with which the process has been abused in Karachi, where ballot boxes and ballot papers were tampered with, polling staff held hostage at gun-point and the whole electoral process was not allowed to begin is a serious crime.

If planned electoral rigging is allowed and tolerated, the whole process of democracy stands rebuked and flawed. Nobody, be they members of the MQM, the PPP, the PML-N, the PTI or any other party, should be allowed to be above law.

The people pay taxes so that the state must enforce the writ of law, not for anarchy and chaos to take over, nor for their fundamental rights to be trampled. For the state to succumb to political blackmail by anybody, including the legitimate stakeholders who may enjoy political mandate of a city, it is an invitation to lawlessness.

Nobody, whatsoever his political mandate, should be allowed to threaten breaking up the country just because the writ of law is to be enforced, and others, even if they are in a minority, demand that a free and fair process of voting must take place.

Even the chief justice of the Sindh High Court could not cast his vote because somebody wanted to hijack the whole process.

What is the difference between these urban political warlords and members of the TTP, both of whom in essence want to dictate and impose their mindset on the populace.

The fact is that the MQM has a strong political constituency in Karachi, but this does not give it the right to deny others their legitimate democratic right and freedom to exercise their electoral choice through free and fair elections.

It is the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the caretaker government and law-enforcement agencies to ensure that all citizens have the right to exercise their choice of vote, freely and fairly, without any threat or intimidation.

Complaints of rigging must be addressed, irrespective of the threats and, if needed, re-election be held in selected constituencies, in case concrete video proof exists.


Re-scan of fingerprints I WOULD like to appeal to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Supreme Court to re-scan the fingerprints on the electoral lists on which the voter had to give his thumb impression before getting the ballot paper.

This exercise would give a clear result if multiple thumbprints of any one person appear which will be a legitimate proof that there has been bogus voting.

The above exercise should be done without any delay.


Ghotki elections I WENT to the Government Boys Primary School, Butto Mahar, Ghotki, polling station for NA 201 and PS 8 to cast my vote, and as I entered the polling station I witnessed all the staff, agents, including the returning officer, casting bogus votes. My vote too was already cast.

I talked to a major of Rangers in the area and informed him of the wrongdoing so that he may take action accordingly. However, I did not get even a single call from him.

The same day I talked to the Election Commission of Pakistan complaint centre in Islamabad. An official told me to register my complaint with the ECP complaint centre in Sindh. Then again they asked me to talk to the ECP complaint centre in Ghotki.

No action has yet been taken. This is highly disappointing.


Vote through cellphones IN Pakistan, whenever a candidate loses in the elections, the first reaction and allegation is of rigging. This is the 21st century. The world is planning trips to Mars.

Everything is technology-based. Why on earth can’t Pakistan follow suit. If a message to 8300 (number of the Election Commission of Pakistan) can reveal the details of one’s polling station, why can’t a voter cast his vote through the same number, mentioning his CNIC number, his full name and his selected political party.

The replies of voters can be transferred to a super computer in the ECP, which will also avoid manual counting of votes. Foolproof arrangements can be made with representative of every political party, sitting in the control room of the ECP. The ECP must ensure that the SIM is in name of the user, its data is connected with Nadra and one voter is allowed to cast only one vote.

This idea, or any other workable idea, must be implemented to ensure fair and free elections for all times to come. Where there is a will there is a way.


Smoothing polling THERE was a great demonstration by PTI supporters at the Teen Talwar on the evening of May 12, protesting against the rigging at NA 250.

It is not unusual to cry foul after losing a contest, but there may be justification for holding the protest. But in all fairness, I must add my experience of the voting at Gizri where I was supposed to cast my vote for NA 250.

Thanks to the help by 8300, I knew where I had to go. I went there at 2.30pm. There was quite a crowd at the polling station. First, I had to get a chit from the boys sitting in a makeshift tent who after checking my credentials gave me a scribbled paper.

I collected the chit without any hassle and proceeded to the booth. Lots of people were inside the building forming a disciplined queue and an equal number of people were outside the gate trying to enter.

That was the one time when I was happy to be a senior citizen. As I disclosed my age to the burly policeman at the gate, he checked my CNIC and let me go, advising me not to stand in the queue but go straight to the booth.

I did so. I was welcomed by the gentlemen manning the booth. I was made to put my two thumb impressions on the two ballot papers. I cast my vote and came out. The whole process didn’t take more than 15 minutes.

Everything was orderly. I say so because I was there. I don’t know what happened at other places. But I must record the orderliness at the place. I voted for the man of my choice and give credit to those who managed that place.

The sad thing is when I look at the untidy black mark at the reverse of my right thumb, I realise that I have to have another one within a week.

S. M. ANWAR Karachi