Re-polling in NA-250: ECP sticks to its guns, MQM to boycott polls

Poll body to conduct re-elections at 43 stations; army can be deployed inside and outside stations.


Hafeez Tunio/irfan Ghauri May 17, 2013
“The decision of the election commission to hold re-polling at only 43 stations out of 180 is unfair and partial. We will not be part of this injustice,” says Raza Haroon. PHOTO: MQM

ISLAMABAD/ KARACHI:


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s plea for conducting re-elections at all polling stations in Karachi’s NA-250 constituency, reaffirming its previous decision of holding re-polling at only 43 stations.


Re-elections will also be held for the corresponding provincial assembly constituencies PS-112 and PS-113.

The ECP directed that the ballot papers for the National Assembly constituency will be white in colour and those for the two provincial assembly constituencies will be light green in order to avoid confusion with the previous ballots.

The ECP had issued notices to the PTI, MQM, Sindh chief secretary and provincial inspector-general of police over petitions to conduct re-elections in the entire constituency.

Taking up the petitions, the poll body rejected MQM counsel Farough Naseem’s plea that since voter turnout at the rest of the polling stations of the constituency remained very low, re-elections should be held in the entire constituency.

“In our opinion, low turnout is no justification to order re-polling. Thus, we see no reason to interfere with our earlier order,” the ECP said.

The order added that the army should be deployed inside and outside all polling stations on May 19 – the day of the re-polls.

The ECP directed the provincial election commissioner to finalise arrangements for re-polls and sent a copy of its order to the military operations directorate of the army headquarters to ensure adequate security in the area on May 19.

“Army personnel may be deployed inside as well as outside the 43 polling stations of that constituency. Army may also provide support to the provincial administration, Rangers and police for maintenance of law and order in Karachi generally on the day of polls under Article 245 of the Constitution” the said.

The Inter Services Public Relations spokesperson in Karachi also said that Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani assured Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim of full support and security for the areas where the re-elections are being held.

“It is yet to be decided whether the personnel will be patrolling inside the polling stations or outside. We are in the process of finalising this mechanism,” he said.

Following the order, Sindh Election Commissioner S M Tariq Qadri has said all polling staff, including presiding officers, their assistants and polling officers have been reshuffled to ensure free and fair re-elections.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Qadri said the district returning officer and returning officer will not be changed.

“The ballot papers will be distributed under the supervision of the army and we have requested the armed forces, police and Rangers to ensure strict security measures,” he said, adding that it was the prerogative of the provincial home department and police to make a decision regarding the deployment of security forces.

He said one presiding officer will be in charge of a polling station whereas two assistant presiding officers and one polling officer will be deputed at each station. “Around 165 polling staff will be engaged in the re-election process,” he added.

MQM to boycott re-elections

After hours of consultations, MQM has announced it will boycott re-elections at 43 polling stations of the NA-250 constituency.

MQM leader Raza Haroon said at a press conference on Friday that the party will not participate in polls. The decision was taken after a meeting of the MQM Coordination Committee in both London and Karachi.

“The decision of the election commission to hold re-polling at only 43 stations out of 180 is unfair and partial. We will not be part of this injustice,” Haroon declared.

He termed the selective re-polling a conspiracy to snatch its mandate.

“Delimitation in the city was the first conspiracy against us. And now polling on only selected polling stations is another conspiracy.”

“Is Punjab Colony, Doli Ghaat and Qayyumabad not a part of NA-250,” he asked.

Haroon said at many polling stations in these areas, voting was not held while in others, voters were not given enough time to cast their votes.

He added that thousands of MQM voters were frustrated at not being able to cast their votes, and would now be deprived again.

Talking about PTI candidate for NA-250, Dr Arif Alvi, Haroon questioned why the ECP did not take notice of his possessing ballot papers. “A candidate possessing elections material would have been disqualified, but this incident went unnoticed by the ECP. I want to ask why?”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2013.

COMMENTS (16)

Power Point | 9 years ago | Reply

@ aniqa

I tend to agree that mqm performance may not have been sterling during the past few years but the mustafa kamal period shows what it is capable of doing with empowerment i.e. strong local government system. Imran has a history of anti Karachi position but i could have given him the benefit of doubt had his party or even its local leaders of the Arif Alvi ilk come out openly and categorically with a list of concrete demands for Karachi. But did they. The teason is obvious; they would stand to lose the votes belonging to those whose heart and sympathies lie with geographical areas located outside the Karachi Division. This may be considered a narrow and biased view, but then, isnt all politics about jobs and local issues.

Fakhroo Jharloo | 9 years ago | Reply

@Ozair: Good decision by MQM. They are requested to boycott polls from all over Karachi. Not just NA-250.

Yes you are right so that political wing of Taliban (PTI) get benefit of it like Jamat-e-Islami in the past and make karachi like wazirastan!....no thanks. and please invite taliban in NA250 posh area you will be giving vote to MQM then. Salams

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