The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to place “all election material, including ballot papers, in sealed form” under the supervision of the Pakistan Rangers or the Pakistan Army till the final decision in the case.
The request was made by Miftah Ismail, who lost the NA-249 by-election to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Abdul Qadir Mandokhil by a few hundred votes amid allegations of vote fraud. After the victory of the PPP nominee, all parties alleged rigging in the by-election on the Karachi seat that was left vacant by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda.
An application by Miftah seeking recount was subsequently accepted for hearing and the decision on the issue will be in the new few days. Meanwhile, the results have been withheld.
“We would like to record our serious apprehension as to the safe custody/security of the ballot papers and other materials … lying in the custody of Sindh Police, which again is a provincial government department and there is strong likelihood that the ballot papers, counterfoils of the issued ballot papers, marked copies of the electoral rolls, ballot paper accounts etc may be tempered to frustrate the whole electoral process,” Ismail said in the application released to the media by the PML-N.
“We, therefore, request you that the custody of all election materials, including ballot papers, in sealed form, may kindly be taken over by the Commission (ECP) and placed at some safe place under the supervision of either Pakistan Rangers or Pak Army till the final disposal of the matter,” requested the PML-N leader in the application.
Reacting to the request, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry mocked the PML-N candidate for seeking the intervention of the Pakistan Army. “Zardari [PPP co-chairman] has reminded the PML-N of the army,” he said in a reference to alleged rigging in the polls.