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ISLAMABAD: On a complaint about alleged manipulation of election results, the Election Commission of Pak­istan (ECP) on Tuesday order­ed re-polling at two polling stations in Balochis­tan’s PB-41 (Washuk) constituency.

After a candidate pointed out to the ECP that results of two polling stations were missing from the final result of the constituency, it emerged that presiding officers of the two stations had been abducted by some masked men and were given copies of Form 45 with fabricated number of votes polled in favour of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s (MMA) candidate in the constituency.

The issue was taken up by the ECP after a petition filed by Balochistan Awami Party’s Mir Mujeebur Rehman Mohammad Hasani, drew its attention to the discrepancies in the results of the constituency.

During the course of the hearing, a returning officer told the commission that two presiding officers were allegedly abducted by the masked men on polling day and the results of the two polling stations were excluded from the final result.

He quoted the two presiding officers as claiming that they had not compiled the results of their stations themselves and that “they were forced to submit the results compiled by their abductors”.

“Who had abducted them?” an ECP official asked. At this, Kamran Murtaza, the counsel for the winner of the PB-41 seat, belonging to the MMA, quoted the presiding officers as saying they were “ab­ducted by security forces”.

The presiding officer of polling station number 44 had earlier told the ECP that “several masked men came and took me with them... After several hours I was handed the Form 45”.

The ECP had earlier reserved its decision regarding the results of the two polling stations.

The presiding officer of polling station number 45 claimed in a letter that he was “abducted by security forces” who later allegedly forced him to submit a Form 45 with a fabricated number of votes on it in order to favour the MMA candidate.

The contents of the letter had been verified by the returning officer concerned.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018