ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over a report by an inquiry committee constituted by it to probe the theft of ballot papers and violence during the recent by-election in NA-240, Karachi, regretting that the main accused had not been identified.

A five-member bench of the ECP headed by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja which heard the case ordered making district returning officer (DRO) and returning officer (RO) for the by-election as OSD, for inefficient performance besides issuing warning to Inspector General Police, Sindh.

“We will pass orders to change the IGP, if the situation remains the same during the upcoming local government elections and by-elections,” the CEC said.

Observing that elections were no joke, the CEC declared that the Commission would act against any government or political party that interfered with the electoral process.

“If you are busy till July 7, let us summon the IGP,” the CEC said. PSP chief Mustafa Kamal has also been summoned for the next hearing scheduled for July 7.

The Regional Election Commissioner submitted an inquiry report on NA-240 stating that police failed to control the groups, and the presiding officer was also confused, adding that the identity of the person who returned the stolen ballot papers was unknown.

The CEC remarked that the real task was to find out who brought back the ballot papers. The Election Commission termed the inquiry report unsatisfactory and sought clarification from the head of the inquiry committee. SSP Korangi informed the ECP that four people had so far been arrested while another accused Junaid alias Jani had been sent underground by the PSP.

PSP Chief Mustafa Kamal entered the polling station along with his party activists, made the election staff hostage and started breaking ballot boxes with batons.

The CEC said that warrants would be issued for his arrest.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

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