LAHORE: The top leadership of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is said to have given the government the go-ahead to acquiesce to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s demand for a full audit of votes cast during the May 2013 election and has resolved to give the PTI a ‘free hand’ for the long march scheduled for August 14, The Express Tribune has learned. The march will be closely scrutinised, however, with the interior minister keeping an eye on the day’s proceedings.
Sources say the party leadership finalised this strategy during a meeting on Wednesday that came on the heels of Imran Khan’s press conference where he called for a comprehensive audit. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will reportedly deal with the issue of the audit and the long march in the coming days, assisted by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
However, even as the leading party gives in to the PTI’s demands, sources said the audit is expected to be less than fruitful. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will carry out forensic analysis of the electoral process and results. Sources said it is likely that during analysis NADRA will face problems due to the quality of ink used on ballots, find it illegible. Thus NADRA will likely refuse to recognise votes and there will be problems with identification of votes. Sources added that forensic analysis is likely to find bogus votes during the audit as well.
The first phase of the audit will focus on K-P and the PTI’s seats there, and sources said the PML-N leadership anticipates that the process will take almost 18 months. Sources said the party leadership also anticipates that the first phase of the process will be declared dubious by the PTI and the results of the audit not accepted.
The audit of votes will hinge upon the momentum gained by the PTI during the long march next month, sources said. The party leadership has reportedly discussed a framework to implement the demand for a full audit of the election.
According to the party’s plan, the government will accept the PTI chief’s demand publicly at a press conference and will then invite the party to weigh in on the audit process.
Sources said that if the PTI agrees, the PML-N will begin the audit from NA1 Peshawar, where Khan won a seat in the general election. Interestingly, most of the first few seats to be audited were won by the PTI. The party won a majority of its seats in the National Assembly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; while 18 seats were won in K-P, the party snapped up nine NA seats in Punjab and one in Islamabad.
It is pertinent to mention here that in August 2013, the interior minister had offered a forensic analysis of the results of 40 constituencies, including four constituencies where results were contested by the PTI. Chaudhry Nisar also offered to form a parliamentary committee comprising all political parties in the assemblies that alleged electoral fraud in order to finalise analysis in 40 constituencies. The PTI did not accept Nisar’s offer at the time.
Thus the PML-N’s leadership says that the PTI’s demand for a full audit is a mere extension of Nisar’s original offer. At the time, the offer was regarded with suspicion as opposition parties termed it a booby trap.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the PML-N leadership reportedly referred to the PTI as unpredictable and took a decision to closely monitor the long march. The progress of the march will be scrutinised by the interior ministry and Chaudhry Nisar reportedly expects that Imran Khan will be able to shore up close to 50,000 supporters in Islamabad.
State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said the party has not yet reached a decision about the long march. He added that the demand for an audit has been relayed to the Election Commission of Pakistan and if it is accepted, the government will move forward as required.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
1) First of all please understand that it is a matter of providing i) democratic justice via elections. 2) If we think it's a dilemma with PTI, then a row of parties are aligned in this election commission battle.
So, if Pakgov cannot even ensure that the correct counting is finally delivered and presented to the nation, then UN envoys must be deployed with reporting techniques through the election processes.
Any state not having respect for this will end up as a "default-state". Don't expect that justice will come to you, when others will do same.
@Muddassir Please do not shove your opinion down our throats. I dont support PMLN blindly but because of the record and because of their right long term policies. On the other hand, it is quite evident that Mr. Khan is truly upset at Punjab and its decision to vote pmln in. Please do not disrespect our vote and for once give people of punjab some respect for choosing whom they wanted. Even in the latest survey where PTI has a good showing, Shahbaz is the most popular CM.
PMLN and its current initiatives are long term and its just a matter of year - two years when the solid results will start showing up and IK knows that. If any chance he has its now otherwise PMLN will wipe him out again in 2018 in heart land Punjab and thus this stupidity of dharna and naach gana. Luckily the thinking heads sitting in GHQ are not emotional fools and for they are understanding the otherwise hard to understand macro economic policies such as getting financial house in order, solidify Forex, reduce debt servicing by retiring old expensive debt with lower LIBOR + 5 debt and get the economic engine of going through mega projects.
As much as you all think we follow PMLN blindly, please wake up and start respecting our opinion and choise.
Hoping the comment will go through!
Brace yourself. IK is coming with a 'Boom' on 14th August. That would completely ruin the chances of NS and his illogical supporters. Although, they have planned well but It's IK we are talking about. Wait and watch Noora's ;)
PMLn will always be PMLn instead of addressing the issues head on, they once again beating around the bushes! These tactics will only solidify rigging claims!
@ Sabi, Qadri, Blithe, Ch Allah Dad: I am impressed by your persistence and determination to blindly support a party while knowing fully well the reality that PMLN came into power by rigging election; its leadership is not only corrupt but also incompetent; and they can not take the country out of current mess (as they could not do it in the last 30 odd years).
PMLN should acknowledge and reward your support on ET (if the party has not already done that!)
Let us agree on some ground rules: First audit 5 seats nominated by N League, then audit 5 seats nominated by PTI and if more than 50% votes cannot be verified! order by elections
@Waseem: International observers said that elections were generally free and fair. I am sure there were odd episodes of electoral abuse as happens in all 3 rd world countries but Imran Khan is only showing himself to be childish and a poor loser. The PML N has shown that their are more mature. I have greater respect for PML N now because they are a party that is commited to democracy in Pakistan.
PTI should NOT accept this. First phase will take 18 months... what ! This is stupid. Start with the 4 seats and finalize results in 2 weeks. PMLN are doing stupid jokes.
Plmn are bluffing they will never do it as they will exposed! They just want to stop the tsunami march but abit to late!
@Aschraful Makhlooq: army must and should be completely out of the processes. The army needs to perform it's professional and not messing things up on the democratic front.
People like you need to hit the history books .
So why didnt PMLN comply on day 1?
Why all the stays and talk about magnetic ink and god knows what other excuses they kept going on about? Why was nobody in the ECP punished?
Like Asad Umar said... "Closer to the day, you'll see the government suddenly talking much more sensibly...."
The problem is that PMLN is essentially a party/family of gullu butts.... and this is the only language they use or understand!
Good choice, now they also must announce that they will resign and hand over power to a caretaker set-up for the interim period, ideally the Pakistani military leadership, this process of auditing may last as long as it takes to verify everyone single vote a voter voted. Let it take as long as it does, be it 18 months or even 18 years if this would cleanse the cesspool our parliaments and our government have been converted into.
For scrutiny every candidate should be present in the process and they or leave their comments.
And by virtue of which constitutional obligation would the government let Army take over the observatory role? I can understand the frustration of trolls and sheep herd followers but that's just inane and reflects the fan club mindset of not having a clue on how things operate in the real world. Got to get out of facebook ma' man!
They are trying to scare PPP and MQM into staying in their respective characters. The federal government does the vote recount. They will end up being the biggest losers in this.
PML-N must has to do so under the strict army's observation because PML-N's vast majority is totally suspecious and for clarity audit has been the need of the hour.....
It is an open secret election was rigged, instead of criticizing cheaters people here are criticizing victims.
Why Imran Khan never protests against massive rigging by mafia in Karachi and by wadera corruption party in sinned province ???
I seriously doubt the intentions of PMLn. How about starting by punishing those who were responsible for the magnetic inks?
Why in the world would it take 18 months?
CHEATERS - WE ARE MUCH AWARE OF DELAY TACTICS ! First they denied that they don't have authority to intervene election commission domain; now they want to initiate this process from KPK - VERY STRANGE - Let me know IS THERE ANY HINDRANCE TO START THE PROCESS FROM ALL THE CONSTITUENCIES AT THE SAME TIME (Election Commission and NADRA have there offices and staff in all provinces)? THIS WOULD BE THE END OF RIGGED LEADERSHIP - BE READY FOR THE FINAL BATTLE.
PMLN is playing cards well. A complete audit is good as it will (1) clear up things at national level where Karachi rigging will get exposed (2) overall, due to bad ink etc it will be hard to get to much conclusions. All this will lead to right result that is fix the Electrol Problem once and for all with out mid term election stupidity.
Hmm...actually they are banking on the analysis taking as long as the rest of their remaining term.... Even if it doesn't ..they will ensure it does.
@amaariqbal: Yes Nawaz Sharif expose badly with hard work and great progress in just 14 months in power.
Well done NS. U are a true Jigar. Let the Tsunami run it's full course as it will fizzle out and die it's natural death. Imran Khan will never be satisfied with anything. He will just find another excuse and try to prop up a new issue.
Even after this Imran won't ever be satisfied and would find some new excuse to create destabilisation. His life long wish is to become PM, maybe govt could accommodate & grant him his wish and revive post of deputy PM just like previous govt accommodated PMLQ.
The election process was literally out of balance and any party in Pakistan and abroad is fully aware of that. So these countermeasures must take place anyway. Next time, Pakistan should invite 100 international election observers..
I think PTI will never agree on audit by Nadra after knowing Nadra is involved in rigging too
I think that is a good strategy by pml-n to cool things off and pass their tenure. Though what I fail to understand that the election process in the country is very weak at best and we should all support whoever wants reforms to strengthen it in a democratic manner. I belive whoever opposes such reforms is a fraudster as you can't really have true democracy without true and fair elections!
Good decision PML-N. Just a suggestion, set targets for every 2 weeks, say 10 constituencies for every 2 weeks and announce the result for Public. This will help us analyzing every constituency in more detail. Also include provincial assembly seats audit.
With NADRA and ECP firmly in their hands, they are finally feeling confident to allow vote verification. It takes time to plant your own people in these organisations. How about a vote verification with the ex-NADRA head back?
rather than wining hearts through fulfilling promises, pti has got other approach to survive (agitation), will they able to fool again?
"The first phase of the audit will focus on K-P and the PTI’s seats there."
"..the process will take almost 18 months."
hahahaha......nawaz sharif exposed badly
Such tactics are probably being employed to buy government time and there will likely be problems with audit process. Imran Khan should join hands with Dr Tahir ul Qadri for revolution as such an audit is unlikely to be fruitful, we are already aware of election rigging in May 2013 elections.
Election audit is a complete waste of resources. Not only it will take 18 months, huge financial resources will be spent.
Excellent! This should shut up PTI!
And the government can focus on improving the economy.
And KPK won't be obliged to keep arranging stupid dharnas for IK.
The audit will show that PTI had no chance of forming government and it'll be egg on IK's face.
Too little too late, I would say.
For god sake... ET, you should realize the height of speculations in this article. .... the party "would', the party "will", it "would be", it "will be" ....
I didn't knew that ET was living on the payroll's from PTI.
They will continue demanding election after election till they sit on government benches and that is not possible in free and fair election.They want to destabilize the system and hold power through back doors.Let them say what they say.No tension.
and by now Nadra and EC is totally under PML-N control, how can they perform a fair audit?
Govt may accept Imran's demand of full audit but surely he will come up with some new excuse and his whining would continue. Only solution one solution might work.. Let him become PM for atleast one day and let him live in prime minister's house. His lifelong wish of becoming PM might be answered and after that he may start acting normally?