KARACHI: The Sindh Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, joined the rising chorus of demands for fresh elections across Sindh and accused the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its allies of hiring criminals to rig the elections.
Addressing a press conference at his residence, he said that May 11 will go down as a black day in history as the mandate of people of Sindh was hijacked and announced his support for the province-wide protest called by the Pakistan Muslims League- Functional (PML-F) against rigging. He appealed to all PML-N activists to take part in the protests and sit-ins.
He listed Khairpur, Dadu, Jacobabad, Nawabshah, Tando Allahyar, Larkana among others where the PPP reportedly resorted to highhandedness and took members of the election commission and voters as hostage and forced them to vote for PPP.
He claimed that he was in possession of evidence and would produce it before the election tribunals and higher judiciary.
He said that people of Sindh, including Karachi, were made to vote under duress and holding re-elections under the army was the only way to prevent the ‘goons’ from influencing the process.
National Peoples Party (NPP) president Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi was also present at the conference.
JUI-F press conference
The firebrand Sindh general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro, said that entire state machinery was utilised to engineer a win for PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Sindh.
Addressing a press conference in Madrassa Hamadia Manzil Gah, Soomro said that they don’t accept ‘a mockery in the name of elections’, adding that they want re-polling in the province. He also announced that a black day would be observed on Friday.
“I contested elections from NA-207 against Faryal Talpur and from PS-36 against Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and visited more than 30 polling stations, which were closed and PPP men were stamping the ballots inside,” he said. “None of this happened when I contested against Benazir Bhutto from the same constituency.”
He said that of the 245 polling stations he has only been given the result of 55 and blamed the chief election commissioner (CEC), Justice (retired) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, for this. He said that Ebrahim proved to be a failure as CEC and his claims of holding free and fair elections were not true. “Results have been changed to gift the seats to PPP.”
He alleged that the Sukkur SSP accompanied the PPP candidate Nauman Islam Shaikh to various polling stations which is a mockery of free and faire elections.
Talking about Karachi, he said that unprecedented rigging was done in Karachi where MQM candidates clocked votes between 100,000 and 180,000 despite the fact that polling started in the afternoon at most of the stations. He cited the example of Nabeel Gabol who, he said, received five votes per second according to the total votes.
Soomro signed off by saying that they had demanded an impartial caretaker government and a non-political governor well ahead of the elections but their demands were not heeded to. He lent his support to PML-F’s call for a strike on Thursday and expressed optimism that the 10-party Alliance will manage to carve out a joint strategy to protest against the large-scale rigging.
APC wants re-election in Hyderabad
An All-Parties Conference passed a declaration urging the ECP to annul the results of the polls and hold fresh elections in the district following widespread complaints of rigging. It also demanded verification of the votes by matching them with thumb impressions.
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), JUI-F, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) and Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami Tehreek and others took part in the meeting.
“The ECP staged a drama in the name of free and fair elections,” said JUP president Sahibzada Muhammad Zubair, a candidate from NA-220. “The thappa mafia carried out blatant rigging with the help of the police and polling staff but the ECP kept mum.”
The district has three NA and six provincial seats of which MQM bagged two NA and four PS seats while the remaining were secured by the PPP.
The 10-party alliance had fielded their joint candidates against PPP and MQM but failed to generate enough support.
JI Ameer Shaikh Shaukat, contestant from NA-219, asked why the ECP hasn’t taken notice of rigging shown in the media. “The evidence is massive. Bogus votes, kidnapping and harassment of polling agents and post-poll rigging all happened right under ECP’s nose.”
PTI leader Dr Mustansir Billah questioned the need of multiple thumb impressions if they were of no use and said that the ECP had claimed that there will be camera at all very sensitive polling stations but he found none.
It was also decided to form a legal team under Ayaz Latif Palijo to pursue the matter before the election tribunals and higher judiciary and hold a demonstration on May 16 in support of the strike call by PML-F.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2013.