Pre-poll rigging: SC directs ECP to review Karachi’s voter lists

Political parties accuse MQM of transferring Karachi residents’ votes to their original hometowns.


Azam Khan November 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Karachi was once again in the spotlight in the Supreme Court on Wednesday – but this time, it was pre-poll rigging under scrutiny rather than the law and order situation.

Almost all political parties, including the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), backed a petition demanding that new voters’ lists in Karachi be revised.

The petition stated that a huge number of voters who had moved from other parts of Pakistan to Karachi were now registered in their original hometowns – even though they still reside in Karachi.

The petition squarely pinned the blame on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and alleged that the party has completely hijacked the city.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that the consequences were serious if three million votes had been dislocated to other districts. It directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to examine the voters’ lists, saying that the complaints were credible and that votes cannot be shifted to other districts without the consent of voters.

PPP General Secretary Jehangir Badar, who told the court that the lists need to be reviewed, also informed the court that he was representing a petition filed by the later former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, regarding bogus voters’ lists. Rana M Shamim, the counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, claimed that MQM workers rather than ECP staff were distributed voter registration forms, and that they were also behind shifting votes to areas outside Karachi although the voters live in Karachi.

“My own vote has been shifted to Punjab without my consent, while my family members’ votes are registered in Karachi,” he said.

Hamid Khan, the counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Imran Khan, told the court that around three million voters have been dislocated in the new voters’ lists. The situation in Karachi was not good, he said, claiming that ECP electoral staff could only approach 10% of the city’s population.

Hamid added that the votes that had been shifted belonged to people who’d been living in Karachi for the last 10 to 15 years and were now registered as voters on their permanent (original) addresses without consent.

The chief justice asked for a short-term solution so that the next general elections could be held on time, and directed the ECP secretary to depute a senior officer of the commission who could explain under what circumstances the votes of three million people have been shifted from Karachi to other districts of the country.

Former law minister Khalid Anwar had also requested earlier that the court direct the ECP to rectify Karachi’s new voter lists. Rasheed A Rizwi, the counsel for Jamaat-e-Islami, also sought the court’s intervention.

The court will take up this matter again today to hear the ECP’s stance on the issue.

The full SC order can be found here.

COMMENTS (12)

MQM | 9 years ago | Reply

Well all that the article says is true. Lets hear the MQM verdict:

The relocated persons in Karachi from other parts of the country primarily interests in voting parties/individuals who do welfare work in their native areas (i.e. the permanent addresses on their CNICs). This trend is independent of whatever time they are staying in Karachi. For example, a guard in our area living in Karachi since 1984 from district Shangla, KPK, is open to his loyalty with ANP because they do welfare work in his native area. So technically their vote in Karachi is not resulting any welfare for the permanent citizens of Karachi. If anyone wants to vote in Karachi then he should change his permanent residence address to this city.

I believe the verdict is strong enough to support their actions.

Urdu Speaking | 9 years ago | Reply

@Usama Bin Ahmed: You are spot-on bro. If given the liberty to vote at their will, Karachi youth even those living in Gulshan, Johar, Azizabad, North, Malir, Model Town, etc will vote for PTI instead of MQM. MQM has support in areas like Landhi, Liaqatabad, New Karachi, etc where youth are given jobs in local government authorities most of whom are ghost employees and instead work for the party on full time basis. (no offense intended)

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