KARACHI: A Pakistan Peoples Party leader, who contested election from a Karachi National Assembly seat (NA-242), was booked for rioting inside a polling station during the Feb 8 general elections, it emerged on Tuesday.

A video widely shared on social media on the day of polling showed former MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhail, the PPP candidate for NA-242, kicking down the door and storming into a polling station while holding a ballot paper. Surrounded by a group of supporters, Mr Mandokhail went straight to a polling booth and smashed ballot boxes on the ground in the presence of police and polling officers.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had taken notice of the incident and ordered the returning officer concerned to take immediate action against Mr Mandokhail under Section 196 of the Elections Act.

The police said that a case against Mr Mandokhail was registered on the complaint of Hafiz Kaleemullah, the presiding officer of the polling station which was attacked by him, under Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 461 (dishonestly breaking open receptacle containing property), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Madina Colony police station.

The complainant told the police that the election staff were trying to count the votes when at around 5:15pm, a charged crowd forcibly entered his room, started throwing polling material and ballot papers and created hindrances in performing official duty and left the place while extending threats. He said that he along with his staff preserved the ballots. He said since the communication system was not working, he could not inform the RO on time.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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