Independents accuse ROs of changing election results in KP

Published February 11, 2024
Former minister Taimur Jhagra addresses a press conference in Peshawar on Saturday. — White Star
Former minister Taimur Jhagra addresses a press conference in Peshawar on Saturday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: The PTI-backed independent candidates, who lost Thursday’s general elections in the provincial capital, have accused the returning officers and the district returning officer of changing poll results.

They insisted that the presiding officers in their constituencies fairly performed duties and carried out the electoral process at their respective polling stations but DRO and ROs changed their election results.

“DRO Afaaq Wazir, who administered the oath to ROs, should immediately resign over election rigging. I also ask the chief secretary to suspend him without delay and order an inquiry against him,” PTI-backed independent candidate and former provincial finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra told a presser here on Saturday.

He said PTI’s nominees won elections in the province, so they would put up a legal fight to protect the people’s mandate.

PTI workers stage sit-ins in Peshawar and Bajaur

“The landslide victory claimed by the PTI in the Feb 8 polls was unprecedented. We [PTI] were subjected to social media disinformation, while our election symbol was snatched,” he said.

Mr Jhagra claimed that none of the PTI-backed candidates was allowed to sit in RO offices and TV screens installed for showing election results were switched off.

He claimed that the DRO and ROs changed poll results “in panic” and won’t be able to defend that act.

On the occasion, PTI-backed MNA-elect Shandana Gulzar said the candidates supported by her party were threatened.

She said the PTI loyalists easily won elections not only in KP but in other parts of the country as well.

Ms Gulzar claimed that the DRO and ROs were “ordered” to change election results in her constituency but they failed to do so.

She said the people staged street protests against election rigging.

The other independent candidates, including Kamran Bangash, Asim Khan, Hamidul Haq, Arbab Jehandad, Ali Zaman, Mehmood Jan and Malik Shahab, who lost polls, also alleged rigging.

They alleged discrepancies in the election results compiled by polling station presiding officers (Form 45) and those by ROs (Form 47).

The candidates also claimed that the victory of the PTI-backed candidate in a NA constituency in the provincial capital was turned into a defeat.

Meanwhile, PTI workers continued to hold sit-ins outside RO offices on Charsadda Road and Kohat Road hampering traffic.

They alleged rigging in Thursday’s elections saying those who lost polls were declared winners by ROs.

The protesters demanded vote recounts over discrepancies in Forms 45 and 47.

On Friday, two PTI workers were killed and 12 suffered injuries when the police “opened fire” at a demonstration in Shangla’s district headquarters Alpuri against the alleged manipulation of poll results.

Protests against alleged rigging were also reported in Bajaur tribal district.

In Bajaur, PTI workers staged sit-in against the alleged change of results of their two candidates for provincial assembly seats. The sit-in continued for the second consecutive day on Saturday.

The workers of PTI and other parties participated in the sit-in held in Civil Colony Khar. However, the sit-in, which was earlier held inside at the deputy commissioner’s office compound till late Friday night, was shifted to the ground of police lines on Saturday on the request of jirga members, who were struggling to resolve the issue in a peaceful manner.

The protesters alleged that returning officers changed results of polls for two provincial assembly seats, PK-20 and PK-21. They claimed that according to the Form-45, Anwarzeb Khan and Engineer Ajmal Khan, the PTI-backed candidates for PK-20 and PK-21, respectively, were winning their seats with about 4,000 lead.

They alleged when the returning officers of both the constituencies released the Form-47 late night on Friday, both the PTI-backed candidates were shown defeated by the JI candidates.

PML-N provincial vice- president Shahabuddin Khan, PTI district president Gul Zafar Khan, Anwarzeb Khan, Gul Dad Khan, Engineer Jawad Iqbal and Sikandarzeb Khan addressed the sit-in.

They expressed concerns over the alleged overnight change in the results of both the constituencies and said they were not ready to accept it. Terming issuance of Form 47 in favour of JI candidates by returning officers a daylight robbery of the people’s mandate, they said that they would not tolerate injustice.

Speakers claimed that there was big difference in the Form 47 and Form 45. They said that workers of all political parties and social activists were on the same page on the issue. They said that no one would be allowed to rob people of their mandate.

They demanded of chief Election Commission of Pakistan to take serious notice of the issue and declare the PTI-backed independent candidates winner at the earliest.

They also asked the district returning officer to play his role in resolving the issue.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2024

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

THE Iran-Israel shadow war has very much come out into the open. Tel Aviv had been targeting Tehran’s assets for...
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...