'Re-polling a must in disputed constituencies' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Re-polling a must in disputed constituencies’

While welcoming the results of the general elections of February 18, the People’s Resistance (PR) noted that the overall results came about despite massive pre-poll manipulation in the form of compromising the independence of judiciary and media, illegal transfers and postings, and an incomplete and flawed electoral roll.

A press statement of PR on Wednesday also strongly condemned the widespread rigging that marked the February 18 polls in Karachi and called for action against those involved in the manipulation of votes cast that day.

PR claims that it has many individual testimonies complaining of harassment, rigging and being coerced to vote in a certain party’s favour. Not surprisingly, states the PR statement, opponents have challenged the results of a number of constituencies, including: NA-241, 249, 250 and 253, and PS-92, 110, 111, 112, 126 and 127.

Terming these irregularities as a mockery of an important constitutional exercise, the PR statement said that the widespread rigging reported from Karachi puts into question the credibility of these results. “We condemn blatant harassment of voters who were bullied into voting for a certain party while the administration provided no protection against such coercion,” it states.

PR also denounced the administration’s inefficiency that added to the voters’ miseries. Voters complained of their names missing from the voters list even though they had registered their names earlier. They were made to run between different polling stations and misguided by presiding officers adding to their difficulties, they said.

PR has called for action against biased presiding officers who were ‘witnessed stamping the ballot papers.’ “Presiding officers abused their power and authority. Instead of facilitating voters, they harassed voters, which is a violation of the EC’s code of conduct,” said a PR statement.

PR said that the hijacking of Feb 18 polls has shaken the public’s trust in this important democratic exercise. “Despite security threats, the public came out to cast their votes because they saw the Feb 18 polls as a hope for a democratic transition,” said the organization. “Those who attempted rigging on polling day challenged public’s constitutional right to make its choice. These elements must be brought to the book. Disputed constituencies must have a re-election since elections in those constituencies violated all electoral rules and their non-transparent results cannot be accepted,” it concluded.

Source: The News
Date:2/28/2008