Karachi: An elections observer group in Pakistan has confirmed reports of rigging at some polling stations in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi. The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has provided statistics supporting reports of rigging at several Karachi polling stations where voter turnout was abnormally high. Since the elections were held on Saturday, the media and many political parties, including Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Jamaat-e-Islaami, have alleged rigging at many polling stations in Karachi to secure big wins for the Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement candidates.
According to a report in Dawn newspaper, the statistics registered in at least five polling stations show rigging trends since the number of votes polled far exceeds the registered voters, according to the data from FAFEN. Polling stations with over 100 per cent votes polled include Orangi Town, Model Colony, Malir Colony and Shah Faisal Colony. The National Assembly constituencies affected by the apparent malpractice include NA-242, NA-256 and NA-257. According to the statistics, 2,508 and 1,484 votes were polled at NA-242 Orangi Town's polling station (PS) 80 and 2, while the respective number of registered voters was 1,349 and 1,230.
At station 151 of Model Colony and stations 63 of Shah Faisal Colony (NA-256), 3,233 and 2,495 votes were polled against a total of 2,114 and 2,405 registered voters. At least four other polling stations (PS-37, 38, 39 and 40) in Landhi area falling under NA-255, also appeared to have been affected by irregularities, with the number of votes polled falling between 93 to 98 per cent of registered voters. In total, data provided by FAFEN shows at least 32 polling stations with over 80 per cent votes polled, which it says are abnormally high numbers.
FAFEN had over 900 trained election observers monitoring polling in Karachi, and more than 41,000 observers across the country. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of widespread reports of rigging in Karachi, and has ordered re-polling at 43 stations in Karachi's NA-250 constituency in 10 day's time. "We will conduct re-polling where we receive substantial evidence of rigging or irregularities," Secretary ECP Ishtiaq Ahmed told reporters in Islamabad. Meanwhile, the Army and para-military Rangers have been deployed in Jacobabad town in interior Sindh province after nine people were injured in clashes between supporters of the Pakistan People's Party and the Muslim League Functional.
An official said the Army and Rangers personnel were called in as a pre-emptive measure to prevent the loss of any lives or damage to property. Police said during clashes the miscreants had set vehicles on fire and damaged public property. There were also clashes in Nawabshah yesterday between the Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement and PPP supporters in which three people were killed.