ISLAMABAD: The country’s two major opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — under a planned strategy on Sunday kept the national media engaged throughout the polling day by issuing statements of its various leaders, copies of written complaints submitted to the election commission and video clips from various constituencies highlighting alleged rigging and irregularities in the AJK elections.
The media managers of the PPP were found to be more active than the PML-N’s media team in highlighting incidents of alleged irregularities during the polling day as they released copies of nearly 40 complaints which the party’s Central Election Cell, headed by Senator Taj Haider, had submitted to the AJK’s election commission from time to time, besides issuing statements of various leaders accusing the federal government, led by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), of interfering in the polling process.
Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and PPP’s secretary general Farhatullah Babar with other party leaders also held an emergency news conference in Islamabad in the afternoon in which they alleged that the federal government had made the AJK elections violent and controversial.
The polling started at 8am and the PPP submitted the first two complaints at about 8.50am with the secretary of the AJK election commission.
Islamabad accused of interfering in AJK polls
“LA-34 (Jammu 6), Poling Station No 481, [the] PTI candidate with the help of the administration is harassing PPP voters and stopping them from voting,” reads the first complaint filed by the PPP.
The second complaint was from LA-9 constituency in Fatehpur Thakiala where the party reported to the commission that political agents of the PPP candidate for the polling station number 18 had been missing since last night.
And after this, the party kept on submitting applications on average after every 20 minutes throughout the day. The PPP’s complaints mostly related to harassment of voters, uprooting of its polling camps by police, difference of number of registered voters in the lists available with the candidates and the election staff, slowing down of the voting process, capturing and stamping of ballot papers by the PTI workers, suspension of the polling process due to violence inside polling stations and open support by police and poll officers to the PTI candidates.
In one of the complaints, the PPP accused the PML-N of harassing the voters and stamping the ballot papers. The PPP through a written complaint informed the election commission that polling station numbers 14 to 22 in LA-12, Khoiratta constituency, had become “no go areas” because of the tense situation and “the PML-N workers are sitting inside these polling stations and stamping the ballot papers”.
Around 12 noon, PML-N’s information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb issued a statement in which she alleged that polling agents of the party candidates in a number of constituencies were being harassed by police and were not being allowed to enter polling stations.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2021