–ECP receives over 80 complaints from women regarding July 25 polls
ISLAMABAD: The complaints of rigging in elections have decreased with the passage of time, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said on Thursday.
According to the documents released by the ECP, the reason for the reduction in complaints of the election rigging was the introduction of reforms in electoral laws and decisions given by the courts.
The documents revealed that most complaints regarding rigging in the polls were received after the general elections 2002, when Zafar Ullah Jamali became prime minister. At that time the international observer also declared 2002 elections as the most rigged polls, the ECP said.
In 2008 elections, when PPP came into power, some 702 complaints were received by the ECP. After the 2013 general elections, when PML-N came into power, the number of complaints about rigging was 405.
Now after the elections of 2018, when PTI bagged majority, 200 complaints have been registered so far, the ECP added.
80 COMPLAINTS FROM WOMEN:
On the polling day, the ECP received over 80 complaints from women on their designated voter hotline, according to media reports.
Nationwide, on voting day, the ECP said it received over 600 complaints; of which only 80 were by women.
A large percentage of the calls were about women being barred from voting by male relatives and tribal elders.
“Several female voters called our telephone hotline from Chakwal in Punjab to complain of disenfranchisement,” Altaf Ahmad, the Public Relations Director at the ECP, said.
He added: “We immediately informed our returning officers in the area, who took steps to ensure that women were allowed to cast a ballot.”
Similar complaints were received from some constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The swift action proved rewarding. Chakwal, which is divided between the constituencies NA-64 and NA-65, registered a 60 per cent and 59 per cent female voter turnout respectively, by the end of the day.
Women also reported long lines and a slow processing time of the commission’s message verification service (8300), which the election staff insists it worked on throughout the day to rectify.
There were also isolated reports of the service not providing the correct address of the polling station.
On July 25, the ECP set up a control room for complaints and a separate gender cell for female, transgender and minority voters. Both control rooms, constituted of over a dozen teams, began working from 6am and wrapped up after voting concluded.