=> The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), while -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), while

The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), while giving details of its ‘random’ report, has complained about the district administration’s influence in appointing polling agents for the upcoming general elections.

FAFEN — a coalition of 40 independent non-partisan civil society organisations formed in 2006 — is appointing 20,000 polling station observers (PSOs) to observe the election process in every district of Pakistan on election day.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Sunday, FAFEN’s National Coordinator Mudassir Rizvi alleged that the district administration was playing a partisan role vis-a-vis the forthcoming elections.

He said that 1,400 observers will be deputed in Karachi alone on the day, adding that these observers were receiving training for this purpose. According to their reports, he said, complaints from two-constituencies NA 252 and NA 254 were received wherein the district government had exerted pressure for the appointment of polling agents. Besides, he added, there were complaints that the district government was not playing an impartial and neutral role in almost all constituencies.

He informed that the organisation had met with political parties, including the MQM, PPP and ANP, and discussed the issue of the administration taking sides in various matters like setting up polling stations and posting polling staff.

Some of the parties had complained of the use of state machinery for the polling campaign of pro-government candidates. Mudassir Rizvi said that some 20,000 observers — 16,400 static and the rest mobile — would be monitoring the election process in 264 National Assembly constituencies in 83 districts.

Regarding pre- and post-election rigging, he said he had sent recommendations to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with regard to devising a mechanism to handle complaints and implementing rules pertaining to polling.

There were also complaints that the code of conduct issued by the ECP for political parties contesting the polls was being violated, he added. About funding, he said that European countries and the US have assisted FAFEN and its sister organisation also helps run the organisation.

FAFEN executive committee members Mukhtar Javed and Mussarrat Qadeem were also present on the occasion.
Source: The News
Date:1/28/2008