Senior journalist challenges Imran to prove allegations
ISLAMABAD: PTI chief Imran Khan’s rigging allegations against Geo have baffled many as to how a TV channel could change the results of elections by airing the speech of a leader which was also telecast by all other major channels. Seasoned journalist Iftikhar Ahmad, who headed Geo’s election transmission, has challenged Imran to have a debate so that his allegations could be better judged.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, days after the star anchor of the channel Hamid Mir was shot six times, Imran said Geo played a role in rigging by airing the speech of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif at around 11.23pm on May 11, 2013, more than six hours after completion of polling process.
However, Imran did not explain as to why other channels did not commit any rigging by airing the same speech of Nawaz Sharif at the same time.
Imran whose party is governing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, conveniently ignored the fact that immediately after Mr Sharif’s speech on May 11, Geo also aired a “victory announcement” by senior PTI leader Asad Umar who claimed that his party would form government in the KP.
“If we go by the logic of Imran Khan how can (PTI MNA) Asad Umar tell before the completion of counting that PTI would form government in KP?” asked Iftikhar Ahmad who headed the Geo’s election transmission.
“How can Geo be held responsible for change in the election results for airing the speech of Nawaz Sharif six hours after the polling time? Only workers of the political party (PTI) could be held responsible for leaving the polling stations before the announcement of results as it was their job to oversee the counting process and get a signed copy of result from the polling staff,” he added.
The seasoned journalist said it was an international practice that media outlets keep their cameras and other devices at the offices of political parties to cover any possible development during and after the elections,” he said.
Iftikhar Ahmad also challenged Imran to hold a live debate with him on allegations of rigging against Geo. “Let us have a live debate on the issue so that people can decide what had actually happened.”
He also recalled that Geo also aired PTI’s allegation of rigging in Hamid Mir’s talk show at around midnight on May 11 and party’s senior leader Arif Alvi was given ample time to voice his opinion on the issue.
According to election experts, usually the results of majority of seats are known to contesting candidate within a couple of hours of polling even before the official announcement.“The party which has polling agents present in the polling stations can get the idea of results within two to three hours as the entire counting process takes place in front of all the polling agents and presiding officer is allowed to give a signed copy of result to each polling agent,” said Kanwar Dilshad who remained the longest serving Secretary of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Dilshad said it is not difficult for the leaders of major political parties and journalists to get the unofficial results prior to announcement by the ECP.“Normally the Commission does not announce the unofficial and unconfirmed results until it receives complete result from each and every polling station,” he said.
But after the voting, leaders of political parties usually maintain contact with their candidates who keep getting immediate results from every polling station through their respective polling agents, Dilshad added.