NA-240 by-poll: ECP rues police inaction in ballot papers theft case

ISLAMABAD: An Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) panel headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Wednesday heard ballot papers theft case during by-election in Karachi’s NA-240 constituency.

The ECP had summoned presiding officer of one of the polling stations of NA-240 Karachi who was accused of stealing the ballot.

During, hearing, the ECP’s Special Secretary told the panel that the presiding officer has been accused of ballot papers theft, which the latter denied.

“There is also CCTV footage,” SSP Faisal Baseer informed and added a political worker had tried to steal but could not succeed.

The election commission ordered the special secretary to file complaint of the case with the police.

“A passerby was killed in exchange of fire between political workers,” SSP told the panel. “Two Kalashnikovs, which were used in firing, were recovered from political workers. The police have registered four FIRs,” the SSP informed.

“No ballot box or paper lost at any polling station while the police detained 25 political workers of parties,” he added.

“It is a clear case but the SSP did nothing,” CEC remarked. He directed for formation of three-member committee to determine the role of the returning officer, DRO and the police,” CEC said. He also ordered writing a letter to the Sindh Chief Minister and the Sindh IG Police over the role of the police. “The Police have committed negligence and did nothing despite lapse of six days,” the CEC expressed his annoyance.

The CEC directed the SSP to record statements of all accused and report those who refuse to cooperate. The next hearing of the case will be held after 10 days, the CEC said.

In his statement, the presiding officer said that his life was in danger. “We will direct the IG Police to provide security to you,” the CEC said. ” Please ensure security of my life,” PO pleaded. “I could not afford to travel Islamabad again and again,” he complained. “Commission will bear your expenses when will it summon you,” the CEC told the presiding officer.

The ECP had also issued notice to Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal for insulting the presiding officers and snatching ballot papers during NA-240 by-elections.

The electoral watchdog had summoned the PSP chairman to Islamabad on June 22 at 10am.

The MQM-P successfully retained the National Assembly seat NA-240, following a nail-biting contest with TLP in the by-election marred by violence, low turnout and allegations of rigging.

According to unofficial results, the MQM-P candidate Muhammad Abu Bakr bagged 10,683 votes, followed by TLP’s Shahzada Shahbaz who secured 10,618 votes.


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