Opposition parties stage protests outside ECP offices in Sindh towns

Published June 29, 2022
LEADERS of JUI-F, GDA and LAI (in the middle) surrounded by workers squat on road to stage a sit-in outside election office in Larkana 
on Tuesday.—Dawn
LEADERS of JUI-F, GDA and LAI (in the middle) surrounded by workers squat on road to stage a sit-in outside election office in Larkana on Tuesday.—Dawn

LARKANA: Workers of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Grand Democratic Alliance, Larkana Awami Ittehad and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan staged demonstrations and sit-ins outside election offices in Larkana and Mirpurkhas on Tuesday to record protest against massive rigging and widespread violence in the just-concluded first phase of local government election.

Dr Safdar Abbasi, general secretary GDA, Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro, general secretary JUI-F Sindh, GDA MPA Moazzim Abbasi and others led the protest in Larkana. The main entrances to the election office had been closed and large contingents of police had been deployed there to control the situation.

Dr Abbasi said at the protest that DROs and ROs were instrumental in rigging the election in Larkana and Mirokhan but Election Commission of Pakistan had not taken any action against them.

He congratulated the GDA, JUI-F and LAI-backed candidates who lost by a small margin of 50 or 100 votes. Maneuvering was still on to change Ghotki election result, he said.

He asked Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to desist from stealing peoples’ mandate, otherwise, they would once again take to the streets to save sanctity of vote.

He said that votes had been purchased and in one instance PPP MNA Khursheed Junejo himself had allegedly stamped ballot papers in polling stations in the absence of Rangers and most of the polling stations were seized where rigging was committed, he said. “We have fully resolved to go to courts and ECP to take back our ‘stolen’ mandate,” he said.

Maulana Soomro said that election was massively rigged and deputy commissioners, SSPs’ and revenue officials facilitated their opponents to steal their vote and mandate.

He said that over 150 party workers were injured in the violence and they were still in hospitals.

He pointed out that at least 100 to 150 votes at every polling station in all 14 districts did not carry thumb impressions. “Therefore, we reject the polls results,” he said.

He said that officers who preferred to save their jobs played their part in rigging while MNAs and MPAs of the ruling party too did not lag behind.

He disclosed that ECP had issued two types of result lists and opposition was handed over ‘flawed’ list which had cast doubts on the transparency of the election. An SSP escorted Jamil Soomro, political secretary to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari during election, he said.

He proposed carrying out forensic audit of results of only two union councils in each districts to find out the truth about transparency.

He criticised role of police in election and announced holding demonstrations and sit-ins outside SSPs’ offices in all 14 districts in the province on June 29. The party’s CEC to be convened next week would plan protest from Kashmore to Karachi, he said.

GDA MPA Moazzim Abbasi and others also spoke at the protest.

Earlier, Maulana Soomro led a similar protest in Mirpurkhas outside the district election office.

MQM-P protest rigging

Workers and office-bearers of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan held a protest demonstration outside deputy commissioner’s office in Mirpurkhas to protest against ‘massive’ rigging and violence in local government election.

The protesters raised slogans against ‘partisan’ returning officers and condemned changing results of MQM-P candidates.

They told media persons that MQM candidates had won seats at different places in the city and outskirts but presiding officers had announced their victory after vote count under pressure of PPP returning officers.

They rejected the first phase of LG election and demanded the ECP take immediate notice of rigging and violence by PPP workers and armed men, ensure registration of cases against them and order reelection besides awarding punishment to partisan election staff including presiding officers and returning officers.

Later, the protesters arrived at local press club where they held a demonstration.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2022

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