Assaulting polling staff: PS-53 election result withheld, case lodged against winning candidate

Published: February 28, 2012
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ECP orders FIR – but victims of assault refuse to become complainants. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ECP orders FIR – but victims of assault refuse to become complainants. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday withheld official results of the Tando Muhammad Khan provincial seat by-poll (PS 53), taking serious note of Saturday’s assault on polling staff by candidate Waheeda Shah Bukhari.

Bukhari was declared the winner in the initial vote-count – but the situation now is far from a celebratory one for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate.

In addition to withholding the poll result, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza ordered that an FIR be registered against Bukhari, who was caught on camera slapping two women at polling station No. 16 at the Government Girls High School. “It was agreed without demur by the members of the ECP that the official result of the said constituency may be withheld till the completion of the inquiry,” said the official statement.

“The slapping incident shocked the whole nation,” observed members of the ECP. “We condemn the unruly behaviour of a person aspiring to represent the people of Pakistan.”

The CEC also directed the Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh to take necessary action. The ECP also stated that an FIR, No. 33/2012, had been registered against the accused at the local police station under section 86 (3) (b) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1976. She has been charged with ‘disorderly conduct at polling station’, an offence punishable with three months imprisonment, Rs1,000 fine or both. It also warned that no one would be allowed to threaten or use force against the polling staff whose services were hired by the commission. It also expressed concern and disappointment over the failure of police personnel present to take action. Ali Asghar Siyal, the Returning Officer of the by-elections in the constituency, lodged the FIR.

“Today in the morning I received directives from the election commission to file a case against Bukhari,” Siyal told the media. “When I reached the polling station, there was a crowd of people gathered there. Shagufta Memon, the assistant presiding officer who was slapped, was weeping,” he stated.  He was briefed by Habeeban Memon, another victim of the incident. After resuming the polling he went to his office and “saw footages of it on Geo television channel”, he reported.

However, “no other charge could be inserted because the two women did not want to give a statement,” Sono Khan Baloch, the provincial election commissioner, told The Express Tribune.

Even Siyal could not obtain their statements. “I asked Assistant Commissioner Ghulam Qadir Junejo to submit the written statements of Waheeda Shah and the polling staff, but to no avail,” he said.

A few reporters who managed to contact Habeeban Memon were told that she had forgiven Bukhari. She attempted to play down the situation on Sunday while appearing at a press conference along with a veiled-girl, introduced as Shagufta Memon. The request to remove the veil for identification was rejected. “Please stop hounding us,” Memon directed the media.

The briefing was later labelled a farce by Mir Mushtaq Talpur, the top contender against Waheeda in the by-elections. “I don’t believe it was her. Their families have been intimidated with consequences if they speak,” he alleged at a press conference where he appealed to the chief justice to declare the elections null and void.

Bukhari could not be accessed for her comments on Monday. “I was angered by the complaints about rigging,” she explained right after the incident occurred on Saturday. “The matter has been resolved,” she concluded.

Disqualification

Meanwhile, confusion prevailed whether Bukhari would be disqualified for her actions.

“The court will decide on the matter,” said Sono Khan Baloch. “The process has begun.” The election commission has not yet issued a notification of the results.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Haroon abbasi
    Feb 28, 2012 - 10:13AM

    how could these people can go into assemblies. y there is no one to ask them. is there any justice left? do they think ordinary humans are respectable?

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  • Qureshi
    Feb 28, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Disqualification is in order.

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  • Noble Tufail
    Feb 28, 2012 - 10:34AM

    what shall we expect from an assembly packed with people like waheeda!!

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  • Syed
    Feb 28, 2012 - 10:42AM

    huh True democracy!!

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  • Ahmad Saleem
    Feb 28, 2012 - 1:39PM

    Imprison her. Disqualify her for at least five years.

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  • adnan
    Feb 28, 2012 - 2:18PM

    they should put cameras in polling centers in karachi and find out the true face of the electrol process in karachi

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  • Dr. Kamran
    Feb 28, 2012 - 2:24PM

    If Waheeda will be disqualified for slapping a officer doing a job…..it will be a first victory for the independent election commission of Pakistan and a victory for the real democracy..

    Govt. is fearing the independent media and now introducing a bill curbing the media rights for the next general elections. Long Live FREE MEDIA

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  • Feb 28, 2012 - 3:11PM

    very bad ban this woman for whole year to election stupid

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  • Dr. Moeen
    Feb 28, 2012 - 3:30PM

    She should be banned taking part in election for at least 5 years

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  • Shan
    Feb 28, 2012 - 5:59PM

    @Haroon abbasi:
    because Pakistanis still think PPP and PMLN will save them…they will only sell the blood more..she was our teacher…Ustad..Rohani Maaa!!!
    We donot deserve to be saved as a nation..I dunno why IK and PTI are working so hard…humary logo ne phir inhi ko vote dena hai!!!

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  • jerseybb
    Feb 28, 2012 - 6:37PM

    The PPP’s candidate should be disqualified and at least be sentenced for 2 years in prison, there might not be any compensation for how she hurt the honor of the presiding officer, however she should pay her family at least 10 million rupees as compensation.

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  • Mohsin Raza Zahid
    Feb 29, 2012 - 4:47PM

    She is stupid representative of that lower end class which is at the risk of its existence and soon will be eliminated from face of Pakistan. Must count on recent data of reduction in feudal system. The key is still good education, self discipline and motivation for doing something extraordinary. Soon Pakistan will be free of this kind Recommend

  • Feb 29, 2012 - 8:59PM

    The choices remain narrow for Pakistanis: Choose between military and the feudal class. There is no third choice as long as the middle class remains a minority and unable to exert any real influence. The only hope for real democracy lies in continued robust growth of the middle class over an extended period of time of another decade or two. There are no guarantees that feudal rulers will permit that.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2008/02/feudal-power-dominates-pakistani.html

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  • Insomniac
    Mar 1, 2012 - 10:33AM

    The most disturbing thing is until this slapping event she wasn’t declared a winner and her attitude was that aggressive just for a brief moment what would she do when she joins the ‘ruling party’. I would say inna lillahe wa inna elehe raje’oon.

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