I am surprised at the so called educated and intelligent class of Pakistan, which includes lawyers politicians, professionals students, anchors, experts at their rhetoric on the poll rigging. I am even more concerned at their callousness and deceitfulness in misleading people of Pakistan in an attempt to dislodge the legitimate government.
Rigging can only take place either with negligence or with connivance of the Parties Representatives (PRs) at the polling booth. Let’s re-enact the polling day at a Polling Booth.
- It’s about 8 or so in the morning. The Polling Stations (PS) are open for the (PRs) and the Returning Officers (ROs) to settle in.
- Each PR is handed over the voters list
- The empty ballot boxes, which are also transparent, arrive. The empty boxes are shown to all PRs and sealed.
- The ballot papers are then unsealed and show to each PR to ensure that their party’s candidate name is there.
- The polling begins. Each voter proves his identity. All parties ensure his name is in the voters list. She/he votes and goes away with an ink mark on the thumb and a finger print on the ballot paper. The PRs object to any suspicious voter or those who cannot prove his or hers identity.
- At the official closing time the polling booths are closed for new voters and those already in the PS are allowed to vote.
- The counting begins immediately after the closing of the polling time.
- The votes are counted in front of party’s representative. Final tally is done for each contestant.
- The results are signed by all PAs.
- The returning officer takes the tally for final compilation at Election omission of Pakistan’s (ECP’s) designated office(s)
- The PRs do their own tally at their parties offices based on the results at each polling station.
The above substantially describes the polling process. It can be clearly seen that unless the all PRs collude with each other or are negligent, the rigging cannot take place in the polling booths. I believe, it is unlikely that poling agents of all contestants wre either negligent, or colluded to enable one candidate to win in election 2013
Now let’s step back and try and reason out Imran Khan’s main allegations:
- Ex-Chief Justice manufactured elections and instructed RO’s to change the results. There is no case, which point towards RO’s changing the results. How can they? For argument sake let’s accept the insinuation. This can be easily challenged and proven in the tribunal by presenting the tallying sheets signed by all party’s PRs at the Polling Booth. It is no rocket science. Why is this not done as the allegations continue? As per the cases handled by Election Tribunal, where there was a doubt, a recounting was done and a decision was given on the basis of facts.
- Ballot papers were printed in Urdu bazaar. Fine let’s accept they were, so what? Were these used to cast fake votes? All votes casted in the polling booths.
- Ballot boxes were replaced with new one with fake votes. Possible. This was done where and when and by whom? Is it the army who transported them or by ECP. The results tallies of the PA’s matched the ECP’s count, hence nullify this insinuation.
- Statement by Afzal Khan as the conclusive proof of rigging. Really does not hold any water. He timing, his demeanor etc., creates doubt on his credibility.
Though may be simplistic, the whole objective of this piece is to give us all a perspective of the election process, which most of the critiques don’t know, and arrive at an educated decision whether the rigging allegations are true or not. Allah has given us ability to assess and then make a judgement. Please step back and reflect. You may still reach the same conclusion, but then you would have thought it through.
My personal assessment is that the rigging was not done as claimed by PTI. FAFEN, UNDP and other Neutral Agencies have endorsed this view. Even the internal report of PTI says that PTI lost due to nominating wrong candidates & their own negligence.