Sehwan police on Saturday evening arrested five officials of the education department for tampering with postal ballots in PS-80 (Jamshoro) — former Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s constituency.

Shah — already tipped by the PPP leadership as future chief minister — is facing Sindh United Party’s (SUP) president, Syed Jalal Mahmood Shah, in the upcoming election.

According to police, SUP activists had caught four education department officials tampering with postal ballots that are meant for government employees on official duty during elections.

The postal ballots are provided to on-duty officials by the concerned returning officer (RO) if they apply for them.

The ballots are designed differently than the ones used by the public in general elections. In the postal ballots, the voter is supposed to specify their particulars, along with the name of candidate they are voting for and their constituency. The ballots are then sent to the RO in envelopes and opened at the time of the vote count.

According to SUP leader and advocate Asadullah Shah, his party had informed the Jamshoro deputy commissioner about their apprehensions regarding Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) and taluka Education Officer Qurban Memon.

Asad claimed that on Saturday, his party had learnt that postal ballots were being filled fraudulently by the ARO in Sehwan.

According to Asad, SUP activists rushed to the spot and found that Memon and others had opened the envelopes containing government employees' ballots and were filling them out.

Upon being found, the ARO fled in his car, Asad claimed.

Caretaker Sindh chief minister took notice of the incident and police were directed to lodge an FIR in this regard.

DIG police Hyderabad range Sultan Khawaja asked the SSP Jamshoro to register a case under the provisions of the Elections Act 2017 dealing with tampering with election material.

Police lodged the case against Aziz Rahupoto, president primary teacher association (PTA), who was filling the ballots, Memon, Mohammad Saleh, Abid Ali, Aslam Birhamani and Ghulam Mustafa Solangi. All suspects, except for Memon, were arrested by police.

The case was lodged on the complaint of an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) official at the Sehwan police station.

SUP activists are currently staging a sit-in in Sehwan and demanding that a case also be registered against RO Ilmuddin Janwari.

SUP president Jalal Shah says that the RO is the custodian of election material and property and therefore must be held responsible in the case.

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