[Dis]enfranchised : Marwat alleges political party registering bogus voters

Published: September 20, 2011
Forms are being filled through sector and not government offices, he claims.

Forms are being filled through sector and not government offices, he claims.

KARACHI: Veteran politician and former Sindh minister Irfanullah Khan Marwat alleged Monday that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is allowing the registration of bogus voters by a political party in Karachi.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, called on extremely short notice, Marwat claimed education officials were registering new voters in complicity with Muttahida Quami Movement workers.

People who want to be registered as new voters are being asked to collect, fill and deposit the ECP forms from the party’s sector office. The actual procedure is for the forms to be routed through government offices.

At the same time, education officials working in the field are filing photocopied forms as original forms with amendments, suiting the party and people engaged in this activity, alleged Marwat.

“If the ECP is involved and such bogus voter lists are being prepared with its consent, we, the Punjabi Pukhtoon Ittehad condemns this,” he stated.

He disclosed that he has informed all other political parties about this alleged illegal activity and has no hesitation in expressing “no confidence in the ECP.”

Marwat said there has been tampering with the number of registered housing units in certain areas of the city. For example, 2,500 new housing units were shown in an area known as TP-2, where Lines Area residents were relocated because of the construction of a signal-free corridor. He claimed that 1,100 houses in his constituency were deleted from the lists.

There are 170 union councils in Karachi and if 10,000 bogus votes are registered in each UC, then you can just calculate the total number of bogus votes, said Marwat.

The new law on voter registration explicitly says that a voter can only be registered in the area where he or she has permanent residency. Proof must also be given. Marwat claimed that these forged documents are being used to register residents in areas where they don’t live.

We demand that the chief justice make this issue a part of suo motu proceedings, Marwat said, claiming that peace in Karachi would remain a distant dream if this kind of work went on.

I have given seven days’ time to all officials, including the ECP chairman, returning officers and other authorities to rectify this problem. If this is not done, a petition will be filed, describing the ECP as partisan, Marwat said.

When asked why he was linking peace in Karachi to the election business, Marwat said that when a section of a population is disenfranchised, it cannot sit by the sidelines and remain peaceful; retaliation is a natural consequence.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th,  2011.

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