ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja on Wednesday vowed to rectify anomalies in the results of the Jan 15 local government elections in Karachi and also promised to take action against those responsible for committing alleged irregularities.
A three-member bench headed by CEC Raja heard the petition of Jamat-i-Islami regarding anomalies in the Jan 15 local government elections in Karachi.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was hearing the case of irregularities in six union committees of Karachi in the recently held local government elections.
The bench asked the JI to provide Form 11 and results issued by the returning officers and assured the party that its reservations would be addressed.
ECP bench hears JI plea against alleged rigging; PPP election cell in-charge states no one in city had any complaint regarding polls
The lawyer for the JI said that the party had brought the case of six UCs before the election commission as a sample. “In each union committee, a difference of one to two thousand votes surfaced,” the counsel said.
“There is a difference of hundreds of votes in a polling station of Manghopir,” he said. “There is a difference between the results of presiding officer and returning officers (ROs),” the JI counsel claimed.
He said that the ROs disappeared, as they were not the employee of the ECP, alleging the ROs and polling staff had done a lot of electoral abuse.
However, the lawyer representing the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) argued that the final results had not yet been prepared and the ECP should immediately release them in compliance with a decision of the Supreme Court.
To this, the CEC remarked that the result should be prepared soon, even if it was wrong and pointed out that the final results had been withheld on the orders of the ECP.
A member of the bench contended that it had to be seen whether the RO made a mistake or knowingly changed the result.
The PPP lawyer argued that the JI’s petition was not maintainable, as only a candidate can apply for electoral disputes.
He said that the JI’s application was premature and if there was any irregularity after or during the polling, then there was a forum and procedure.
A candidate concerned, however, submitted that he had a video, wherein the PPP poll symbol ‘arrow’ was being stamped.
The CEC said he should bring along the evidence of rigging.
The in-charge of PPP’s Karachi LG election cell said that no party except the JI had filed a complaint as everyone was satisfied and no one in the city had any complaint regarding LG polls.
He added one must desist from setting a tradition that everyone come to the Election Commission.
The CEC said that the applicants should submit a copy of their reply and evidence and they had to provide the copy to the respondents and ROs. During the hearing, the ROs concerned also appeared before the bench.
The CEC said that the Election Commission prefered that the ROs should be from administration. “Our experience in Sindh has not been good. You are a government employee, you have to work impartially,” he said.
The hearing was adjourned till Feb 2.
On Tuesday, the ECP had released the official results of Karachi LG polls. The PPP has emerged as the single largest party with 91 seats followed by the JI and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf with 58 and 42 seats, respectively.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz bagged seven seats, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl got two seats and Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan won one UC seat. Results of six UCs had been stayed pending decision on the plea of the JI.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2023