KARACHI: Major contesting parties including the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party raised concerns over an unusual delay in election results in Karachi and blamed the Election Commission of Pakistan for mismanagement.

The ECP took more than 36 hours to announce the results of 236 union committees of Karachi and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami accused the provincial administration of “rigging and managing things” in its favour for this.

The PTI went a step forward and “rejected the results and process” of the Karachi local government polls and vowed to announce next course of action soon.

PPP ‘peacefully rigged’

polls: PTI

Senior PTI leader Syed Ali Haider Zaidi told a news conference that the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad were “peacefully rigged” by the PPP government.

“There’s a political engineering going on at the deputy commissioners’ offices across the city where returning officers behind closed doors are manipulating the results, which is causing the delay,” he said.

PTI, JI accuse PPP-led govt of ‘rigging, manipulating results’; Saeed Ghani denies charges

Criticising the ECP, he said that former prime minister Imran Khan had already made the nation aware that the “ECP is biased and a B-Team of the PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement] government”.

Every single resident of Karachi knew that the post-voting rigging was going on but the ECP was doing nothing to stop it, he added.

He also conveyed a message to “political engineers” that they were damaging the country by manipulating the public mandate.

He also demanded that the chief election commissioner be resigned for failing to ensure a free and fair election.

“Seeing the condition of Sindh and Karachi under the PPP-led Sindh government during the past 15 years, no sane person in this province can vote for the ruling party without rigging and political engineering,” he said.

RO being used to change poll results, alleges JI

The Jamaat-i-Islami was also not convinced with the vote-count process and even cited “documentary evidence” which “proved” its rigging claims.

“We are not getting the results from the returning officers even after the passage of several hours to the polling,” he said while addressing a press conference at Idara Noor-i-Haq. “We strongly condemn this non-professional and illegal attitude. The returning officers are being used by the authorities to change the results.”

He said that his party had documents, which were provided by respective presiding officers of polling stations, that suggested that the JI won over 100 UC seats. “But overnight the results were being changed by the returning officers,” he alleged.

PPP rejects allegations

However, the PPP, which sounded in agreement with the opposition parties on their reservations over ECP’s failure in announcing timely results, rejected the allegation of involvement of the provincial administration in the whole process.

“There’s no doubt the entire election process becomes controversial due to the delay in results,” said Sindh Labour Minister and PPP Karachi division president Saeed Ghani while speaking at a press conference on Monday.

However, he said that the results in which his party had become the single-largest party “so far are in line with the earlier predictions of our victory in the local government polls in Karachi”.

He also felicitated JI’s s Hafiz Naeem, saying that the party seemed to be runner-up in the race.

Replying to a question, he said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan should take part in the election process instead they decided to keep themselves away from the democratic event.

He claimed that according to unofficial results the PPP had won over 100 union committees of the metropolis during the second phase of the local government elections.

Replying to another question, he said that the PPP had won majority UCs of Lyari Town, Saddar Town, five UCs in district central, six in district Korangi.

The general secretary of the PPP Karachi divisions Javed Nagori and others were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2023

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