ISLAMABAD: The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja said that if evidence of wrongdoing is found, the result of the local government polls will not only be corrected but those involved in the electoral process will also face disciplinary action.
He made this statement while leading a three-member panel of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that was hearing a petition from the Jamaat-e-Islami political party regarding alleged irregularities in the recent polls in Karachi for six union councils.
The party’s lawyer argued before the panel that even if it was not rigging, there was a large-scale irregularity in these six union councils. He pointed out that errors were made in counting 1,000 to 2,000 votes in one council. For example, in Manghopir UC-12, 4,538 votes were cast, but it was written that the correct number of votes was 5,110 according to Form XI. In another UC, the Jamaat-e-Islami party had 2,088 votes and the Peoples Party had 546 votes, but in the final results, 1,988 votes were recorded in favor of the Peoples Party.
He claimed that there were similar disparities of hundreds of votes in every union council. He said that the Returning Officer (RO), who was not an employee of the Election Commission, disappeared and alleged that the ROs and polling staff had engaged in electoral misconduct.
The lawyer for the Peoples Party argued that the final results had not yet been prepared and the Election Commission should release them immediately as per the Supreme Court’s decision. Raja, commented that the results should be prepared soon and noted that the final results had been withheld on the orders of the Election Commission. The lawyer for the Peoples Party argued that the Jamaat-e-Islami’s petition was not valid, stating that only the candidate could apply for electoral disputes, and the JI’s application was premature.
ECP to Look In the Matter
A member of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) argued that it needed to be determined whether the returning officer made a mistake or if the results were changed intentionally.
Furthermore, the CEC stated that he should bring the evidence of rigging. The in charge of the Peoples Party’s Karachi local bodies election cell said that no party except the Jamaat-e-Islami had filed a complaint and everyone was satisfied with the polls. He added that no one in the city had any complaints about the local government polls.
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