Sans violence: HRCP declares LG elections free and fair

Turnout was between 25 to 28%, whereas it was 45 to 47% in last LG elections.

Our Correspondent December 07, 2015
HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf told The Express Tribune that the elections were free and fair

KARACHI: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has termed Saturday's local government elections in Karachi free and fair.

HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf told The Express Tribune that the elections were free and fair and said that they did not come across any cases of rigging. However, the organisation noted that there were complaints of mismanagement and violence.

"There were complaints of incompetence and inefficiency by the election commission rather than rigging. The incidents reported were of misprinting of ballot papers," said Yusuf, citing an example of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf being allotted an arrow symbol in some areas.

The HRCP had sent out a team of 40 to 50 members to monitor the elections.  One of the members, Masood Warsi, the organisation's coordinator for District Central, said that while there was peace in the area, issues of lack of stationary and ink were on the rise.

"In Nazimabad, when the polling station had run out of ink, they were not provided with more ink and the staff used markers to put lines on the voter's thumbs," he claimed.

"We had seen in the by-elections of NA-246 that the agencies were not cooperating with the public but during Saturday's election, we saw cooperation from them," said Warsi, who added that the team did not witness any incident of rigging.

The HRCP official, who has monitored elections in the past, also said that the voter turnout, as compared to last the local government elections, was lower. "This time, the turnout was between 25 to 28 per cent, while in the last local government elections, it was between 45 to 47 per cent," he explained.

In a press release issued by the HRCP, secretary-general IA Rehman said that the some incidents of violence were reported and all the contesting political parties and independent candidates had some complaints of mismanagement.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th,  2015.



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