Pak poll panel denies rigging charge but owns up to 'few irregularities'

"Immediate decisions are being taken on complaints filed," the poll panel added in its statement

A polling officer marks the finger of a woman (R) after casting her ballot at a polling station during national elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024. — AFP

A polling officer marks the finger of a woman (R) after casting her ballot at a polling station during national elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024. — AFP (Representative image)

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday refuted allegations of rigging during the vote count after the February 8 general elections but acknowledged the occurrence of a 'few irregularities', ARY News reported.
According to the report, the electoral body issued a statement in which it acknowledged that it does not deny the occurrence of a few irregularities and that relevant forms were available for investigation.
"Immediate decisions are being taken on complaints filed," the poll panel added in its statement.
However, the election commission said the polling was organised and held peacefully despite 'difficulties and issues'.
The ECP noted further that conducting the elections smoothly was a 'major operation', which was completed successfully, according to the daily.
On the delay in the publication of the election results, the poll panel said the suspension of mobile services on February 8 created some hindrances to the process of sending electronic data by the presiding officers (POs).
Pakistan witnessed a countrywide shutdown of internet and cellular phone services on February 8 during the polling process, with the authorities attributing the move "to maintaining law and order" in the wake of pre-election violence.
On Monday, the ECP said the move to suspend mobile internet services severely affected coordination and transport of election material.
According to the election commission, the first result of the 2024 elections was received at 2 am, compared to the 2018 election result, which was received at 4 am.
"Except for some constituencies, the results of the elections were completed within one and a half days," the statement said, adding, "The delay in results in some constituencies did not benefit or harm any specific political party."
The polling was held for 265 seats of the National Assembly (NA) and 590 seats of provincial assemblies.
Voting took place on 51 seats of the Balochistan Assembly, 128 out of 130 seats of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, 296 out of 297 seats of the Punjab Assembly, and 130 seats of the Sindh Assembly.
Independent candidates consolidated their lead in the general elections over mainstream political parties, especially in the National and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies, as the results were announced.
According to the results announced so far, Independent candidates have managed to win 101 seats. Significantly, of these 101 Independents, 92 are supported by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) while nine are general Independent candidates.
PML-N is currently in the second position in the vote count with 75 seats while the PPP has won 54 seats. The MQM-P has been declared victors in 17 constituencies with JUI-F in four, PML-Q in three, while IPP and BNP in two seats each.
The MWM, National Party, PML-Z, Balochistan Awami Party, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Pashtunkhwa National Awami Party have won one seat each.
Meanwhile, the workers and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) launched nationwide protests over the alleged "rigging in the general elections" on February 8.
PTI members demonstrated against what they claimed to be election tampering in Peshawar, blocking the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 13 2024 | 8:36 AM IST

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