PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday alleged that “massive foul play” was afoot during the second phase of the Sindh local government elections, adding that such “manipulated” polls would only aggravate polarisation and anarchy in society.
The second phase of the local government elections was held in 16 districts of Sindh on Sunday. However, major contesting parties — including the ruling PPP — had raised concerns over an unusual delay in the results in Karachi and blamed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for mismanagement.
The ECP took more than 36 hours to announce the results of 236 union committees of Karachi as the opposition PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) accused the provincial administration of “rigging and managing things” in its favour.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Imran said that recent reports regarding the polls had made it apparent that the PPP had “no commitment to fair and free elections”.
“Instead, it uses force, blackmail, police harassment, money to get votes. Now [it is] also clear why the ECP, its cabal of crooks and their handlers sabotaged electronic voting machines (EVMs),” he added.
The ex-premier said that EVMs ensured transparency and provided results immediately, thereby preventing “rigging and engineering”.
“Right now, results of LG elections which should have come out within a few hours at most were coming out in a staggering delay, some for days, allowing for massive foul play.
“If this is the sort of elections ECP, the state and the Pakistan Democratic Movement want, then the stability that elections are meant to bring will not happen. Instead, such manipulated elections will only cause more agitation, polarisation and anarchy,” he said.
Unofficial results of the LG polls showed them to be a ‘one-sided affair’ as PPP was poised to win most seats in nine districts of Hyderabad division and easily bring its mayor to head the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) for the first time in recent past.
However, the contesting parties in Karachi remained unsure about their mandate on Tuesday, with an official of the electoral watchdog in Sindh asserting that it might take another day to finalise the results.
JI, which secured 86 seats according to results of Karachi’s all 235 union councils (UCs) announced on Monday, claimed on Tuesday that it had won three more seats.
Similarly, the PPP claimed that its candidate in the union council No. 6 of Chanesar Town had been declared as the winner after a recount. The seat was earlier bagged by JI.
Without denying or confirming these claims, a spokesperson for the provincial election commission said the results were still being finalised, with chances of change in the party position shared on Monday evening.
With its fresh claims, the JI now further grew its position from Monday night’s 86 to 89, bringing the PPP number down to 90 from 93. A JI spokesperson said the party was formally informed by the ECP about the three more UCs — two in the West and one in the East district — after a recount where the PPP had been earlier declared winner “illegally” on Monday night.
Meanwhile, ECP spokeswoman Quratul Ain Fatima said in a statement on Tuesday the accusations over delayed results were also “unfounded and based on ignorance”.
“The Election Commission wants to make it clear that there was no delay in the results of the elections,” she remarked, reminding those hurling the allegations that it took three days to compile the results in the 2015 local government elections.
She stressed that it would be inappropriate to compare the local body elections with the general elections