GDA, JUI-F reject results of first phase of LG polls, demand reelection

Published June 28, 2022
GDA general secretary Dr Safdar Abbasi gestures at the press conference as JUI-F leaders look on.—PPI
GDA general secretary Dr Safdar Abbasi gestures at the press conference as JUI-F leaders look on.—PPI

LARKANA: The leaders of Grand Democratic Alliance and Jamait Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl rejected results of the first phase of local bodies election held in four divisions of the province on June 26 and demanded Election Commission of Pakistan hold reelection after making transparent arrangements for polls.

Dr Safdar Abbasi, general secretary of GDA and Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro, general secretary of JUI-F Sindh chapter, called election results outcome of ‘rigging’ on a massive scale and announced holding demonstrations and sit-ins across the province in front of offices of the ECP today on June 28.

Dr Safdar, who also heads Larkana Awami Ittehad (LAI), hinted at waging a legal battle against the rigging and said election was held after getting input from ECP. Voter lists were found full of flaws which spoke for unpreparedness of the ECP while ‘partisan’ returning officers and district returning officers arbitrarily rejected nomination papers of opposition parties’ candidates at the eleventh hour, he said.

He complained that polling agents were not given form-11 which was mandatory after completion of the voting exercise. Elections were completely purchased and it was difficult for one to understand how PPP candidates were provided police escorts, he asked.

He said that election was held deliberately in the absence of army and Rangers personnel outside polling stations in order to rig it on a massive scale. Results had not yet been given to candidates in Ghotki, he said.

Maulana Soomro said that elections were marred by blatant rigging and harassment of rival parties’ candidates and supporters and pointed out that ballot papers in his union committee were being stamped till 10 pm while the JUI-F candidate had been booked in two FIR’s registered under Anti-Terrorism Act.

He claimed that after securing nearly 700,000 votes JUI-F stood second in 14 districts with 250 seats in local bodies’ polls but even then the party rejected the results.

Under the obtaining conditions, he said, GDA, JUI-F and MQM had begun consultations and did not rule out the possibility of boycotting the second phase of the election after consultation with allies.

He alleged that PPP used government machinery in election. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman had been apprised of the situation and the party had urged him to think over distancing from the present ruling alliance. “How can it be possible for us to sit in the federal government when our workers are beaten up and election is rigged on a massive scale,” he said.

He appealed to prime minister to take notice of the treatment meted out to a political ally by PPP. “We will withdraw ‘crutches’ of the alliance if the prime minister does not take notice of election violence,” he said.

He said the central executive committee of the party would meet soon to discuss and announce schedule for long march and campaign against Sindh government, he said and criticised the role of inspector general of police in election.

GDA MPA Moazzim Abbasi pointed out irregularities in voter lists and mixing up of rural and urban areas in delimitations. GDA and its component parties played a positive role in pacifying charged workers whenever the situation got tense over some irregularity but FIRs were registered against GDA candidates only, he said and criticised police’s partiality.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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