ISLAMABAD: Following days of extreme criticism over the delay in the announcement of ballot outcomes, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has defended itself, saying a litany of safety and logistical challenges impeded the method.
For 4 days since Feb 8, mum was the phrase from the fee as individuals waited for the ultimate consolidated outcomes. There had been additionally claims of alleged rigging and manipulation of outcomes to vary the successful candidates.
In an in depth assertion on Monday, the fee stated saving human lives and guaranteeing accuracy was extra vital than the swift announcement of election outcomes.
The coverage assertion, issued by ECP Spokesperson Nighat Siddique, got here on the identical day when caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar held a press convention and defended the fee’s efficiency.
The spokesperson stated the fee grappled with a bunch of challenges earlier than and through the electoral course of, and it needed to take numerous steps to cope with them.
The points comparable to peaceable polling, safety of polling employees, transportation of polling materials and correct compilation of election outcomes had been prioritised by the ECP to make sure peaceable elections regardless of safety challenges.
It would have been inappropriate to place human lives at stake and forged doubts over the accuracy of election outcomes for immediate result declaration, the assertion stated.
While citing terror assaults in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the lead-as much as the polls, the spokesperson stated the conduct of elections was “a problem”.
There was a hazard of jeopardising your entire election course of by risking human lives to hurry up the election course of and particularly the outcomes.
The assertion famous that the suspension of cell networks, lack of communication entry, polling stations in far-flung areas, journey at evening, harsh climate and snow, and sit-ins by political events triggered difficulties in the transportation of election outcomes.
Helicopters had been additionally used to move polling employees and supplies in some areas of Balochistan, the assertion claimed.
In the wake of the safety scenario and to make sure coordination, the places of work of 5 to 6 returning officers had been arrange in one place in many elements of the nation.
After the polling, crowds gathered exterior these places of work, making it troublesome for the employees to submit the polling materials.
This additional delayed the compilation of the election outcomes.
The fee additionally claimed that there was a blended polling pattern in areas the place the election outcomes had been delayed, and no single get together benefited or misplaced in any method as a result of delay.
Concerns over EMS
The fee additionally defended the efficiency of its Election Management System (EMS) and stated its major activity was to arrange and edit outcomes submitted by presiding officers to returning officers (RO).
The presiding officers at polling stations needed to put together Form-45 — which carries the tally of votes polled at every polling station — and ship it electronically to the RO involved.
The Form-47 (provisional result) needed to be ready and introduced on the RO workplace.
The fee stated beneath Section 90 of the Elections Act 2017, presiding officers needed to attain their RO’s workplace in particular person. The EMS put in in ROs’ places of work was not depending on web connectivity and labored satisfactorily.
The assertion identified the EMS cell app put in in the cellphones of the presiding officers wanted mobile connectivity to ship Form-45.
Since mobile service was switched off, the presiding officers had been unable to ship the info to ROs.
The coordination and transportation course of was badly affected as a result of closure of cell phone indicators, which led to additional delays.
“It is vital to say that in the 2018 basic elections, the primary result was acquired at 4am whereas in 2024, the primary result was acquired at 2am,” the spokesperson claimed.
Similarly, in 2018, the outcomes had been accomplished in about three days, whereas this time, the election outcomes had been accomplished in one and a half days, besides in some constituencies.
Despite these difficulties, the ECP was capable of maintain peaceable elections and efficiently full “an enormous operation,” as acknowledged by civil society organisations and observers.
The fee rejected the allegations of widespread rigging apart from a couple of constituencies the place “remoted incidents” of malpractice occurred.
The assertion added that boards had been out there to the candidates and partied for the redressal of rigging complaints.
Moreover, 4 counters have been arrange on the ECP Secretariat in Islamabad for litigants to file complaints over alleged rigging.
Case towards Firdous Ashiq
Separately, Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party chief Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan appeared earlier than the fee for slapping an on-obligation police officer through the polling.
She was issued a discover to look earlier than the fee after a criticism was filed towards her.
Dr Awan stated as a candidate, she had the fitting to go to polling stations and, throughout these visits, discovered that police had been unable to manage hooligans.
She claimed to have identified the problems to a police officer standing at a polling station and requested what was being executed to unravel the,
The IPP chief claimed she acquired no response and accused the police of being “silent spectators” and “facilitators”.
She stated in such conditions, tempers flare up however tendered an apology over her conduct.
Her legal professionals contended that except they had been supplied with a duplicate of the criticism, they may not file a reply.Later, the ECP ordered Dr Awan to submit a reply on February 15.
Published in Dawn, February thirteenth, 2024