KARACHI: Hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) set May 19 as the date for re-polling in 43 polling stations of NA-250, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) rejected the idea claiming the decision had been taken without consulting them.
MQM Senator Mustafa Kamal in a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday evening alleged that elections in NA-250 had gone awry due to the incompetency of the ECP who could not provide polling material or staff at the polling stations which meant that voting could not begin till 3:30pm.
“This is the only constituency in Pakistan where till 3:30pm, in most, almost all polling stations, voting had not started.”
The former Karachi mayor pointed out that once polling had begun, no reports of any firing or any untoward incident were received in NA-250, and the atmosphere in the constituency was largely peaceful. Rather according to a “well thought out plan” polling was delayed with the MQM the victim.
“We were the victim. Why would we delay polling?”
“All our voters were there but we were helpless. We were trying all our contacts to ensure staff and materials reached the polling stations so that voting could commence.”
Kamal added that his party had onMonday demanded re-polling in the entirety of NA-250 – due to ECP’s incompetency. “But today, the ECP, without consulting anyone announced re-polling in 43 polling stations?”
“We reject it. We will protest against marginalising MQM’s mandate.”
The Senator said that trouble started when the ECP called for voter lists to be reconfirmed in Karachi under the supervision of the army. “There was a deliberate attempt to marginalise MQM’s mandate. And it started with the voter lists being confirmed door-to-door in Karachi under supervision of the army. As if there was no problem in the accuracy of voter lists in other parts of the country.”
Kamal said that they welcomed it, hoping it would vindicate the MQM. However, he alleged that when this failed, hours after the election date was announced, the decision to conduct delimitation in Karachi was announced. “Out of entire Pakistan.”
“They were conducted [delimitation] unconstitutionally since delimitation can only be carried out after census.”
The former mayor said that the MQM persevered and continued with its election campaign which came under attack from the Taliban.
“On May 11 they tried their last attempt to marginalise the mandate of MQM. This happened in one constituency, NA-250. This is the same constituency in which delimitation was announced.”
Earlier the MQM candidate from NA-250, Khushbakht Shujaat, said that re-polls should be conducted at all of the 180 polling stations in the constituency. She expressed concerns over the decision of ECP.
Correction: An earlier version of the article had incorrectly spelled Senator. The error has been fixed.