A visibly content chief election commissioner (CEC) expressed his gratitude and paid tribute to the voters who thronged polling stations across the country, achieving a record 60% voter turnout in the historic 2013 general elections.
Addressing a press conference at 2am Sunday morning, Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim congratulated the nation and said, “People have manifested their power. Today, I am a happy man.”
The CEC made the first official polling result announcement in which Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sirajul Haq won the provincial assembly seat PK-95 of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
He praised the media for spreading awareness among the masses about the significance of voting, and also lauded the ECP staff for their “tireless efforts” in making arrangements for the 2013 general elections.
“It was a difficult task but officials have worked really hard,” he added.
Commenting on the results of the elections, he said good governance was the duty of the elected government. “They [elected government] must give us good governance.”
“The ball is in your [elected government] court now,” he said. The CEC also appreciated the arrangements made by the provincial governments, law enforcement agencies and the military for providing security on election day. “I had said on day one that if you give us law and order, we will give you free and fair elections. Free and fair elections would not have been possible in the absence of these arrangements.”
“If the journey [to holding fair elections] continues, the train will gain speed.”
He also announced that the commission would investigate and take action against those responsible for disrupting polling at several stations of NA-250, Karachi. It is the only constituency in which polling at around 40 polling stations was stopped. Re-polling will take place at these stations.
“Polling staff [in NA-250] was hijacked and we had to recover the staff,” the CEC said while announcing that the commission would examine the matter thoroughly. He did not however say who had hijacked the polling staff.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2013.