NA-246 by-election: Rangers demand biometric system for polling stations

Published: April 14, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: In a rare move, Rangers have demanded the provision of biometric system for the upcoming by-elections in the NA-246 constituency.

In a letter addressed to the interior ministry and Director General NADRA, the law enforcement agency contended that in order to ensure effective monitoring Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and biometric machines should be installed in the 213 polling stations and 770 polling booths in NA-246 constituency. This, they maintained, will enable smooth polling.

Read: NA-246 by-polls: Qaim asks DG Rangers to ensure law and order

Rangers further contended that if the provision of biometric machines for all polling booths is not possible, then at least 372 booths designated for female voters should be equipped with the machines in order to curb rigging and ensure transparent polls.

Rangers pointed out 55 buildings as sensitive and called for installing sensitive cameras on these.

According to the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP), this is the first time in the history of the country that an LEA has demanded installation of biometric system for the aforementioned elections.

Read: Rangers hotline: If you spot trouble on the day of the by-polls, call 1101

Authorities have already directed deployment of Rangers personnel in and outside the polling stations to curb rigging during the all-important elections.

Earlier, various concerned quarters of the country and political parties demanded deployment of security personnel, including Pakistan Army troops to deal with any untoward incident on polling day.

Read: Poll rigging: PM orders formation of task force to work with judicial commission

The political parties seen as strong contestants in the NA-246 by-polls include Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamat-e-Islami (JI).

The seat in the constituency fell vacant after MQM candidate Nabeel Gabool resigned from his position due to difference with the party.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Kashif
    Apr 14, 2015 - 6:57PM

    Well, that’s a commendable recommendation but when did LEAs started dealing with administration? Recommend

  • Hasan Askari
    Apr 14, 2015 - 6:59PM

    Establishment, agencies, media, people outside of Urban Sindh are trying every possible method to take power in Karachi. They have crossed all limits and are now acting beyond rule of law. This news is like saying US Army demands biometric system installed in next US elections. I mean where does this happen?

    Important point is that they have become so naked that they no longer have any shame and now are not hiding their bias.

    Even in previous elections Karachi was treated as special case. Delimitations were performed and carved to reduce power of MQM and Urdu speakers. I remember in by elections army or rangers were called. In that by election PTI ended up getting less votes

    This is clearly a plan to conquer Karachi. Motivation is two fold

    1- Reduce the power of Urdu speaker leaders and install outsiders like Imran

    2- Grab resources and loot. They have already done that by removing local government system but they are not satisfied. They want an establishment tattoo in there

    However our problem is that we Karachites do not want a tribal backward extremist mindset like Imran Khan there. It is against our values.

    InshAllah this will be defeated also. They killed Liaquat Ali Khan, went after Fatimah Jinnah, did not give power to bengalis, removed capital city from karachi, brought refugees and extremism in the city

    This is another plan in the long list…dirty minds fail in the end. You have to give people their dues and respect them. This is why you as a nation are a failure. Because you have not given power to good educated people.

    My fellow Karachites..do not fall for this drama. Unite and vote for educated among us. Recommend

  • just_someone
    Apr 14, 2015 - 7:20PM

    Great move… if the politicians wont put biometrics themselves, let the army push it through.
    Let the real representatives of the people determine be put in power and not one that come to power through fake ballots!Recommend

  • Political Analyst
    Apr 14, 2015 - 8:55PM

    CCTVs are ok but biometric is not possible as CNIC older than a particular period always give problems. This has been witnessed in recent SIM verification exercise. Great idea but implementation given the system shortcomings is not possible, in my opinion.Recommend

  • saeed
    Apr 14, 2015 - 8:57PM

    Looks like rangers are a party too in this by election.Recommend

  • Fed Up
    Apr 14, 2015 - 9:08PM

    @Hasan Askari:
    umm why are you so dramatic?
    If you haven’t noticed, on average 7 people are killed in Karachi each day. Karachi does not belong to just urdu speakers, karachi belongs to each and every Pakistani. I have lived in Karachi since the day I was born. I unlike you will vote for peace, I will not blindly give my vote to someone just cause they are urdu speaking. Please do not claim to speak for all people of Karachi cause many of us are tired of living in fear everytime we go out or run our businesses.
    P.S if you haven’t noticed, your beloved MQM without fail joins the PPP’s government every single time even though the leaders of MQM claim to be opponents of feudalism. Recommend

  • Taimoor
    Apr 14, 2015 - 9:41PM

    @Hasan Askari:
    When they gave rangers the duty to handle the elections in NA 246, rangers can and should make recommendations for a clean election. What are you so heart broken about a biometric system will ensure a fair election. As for karachi getting conquered get a life, you don’t own Karachi, its just a city that people like you ruined. Recommend

  • Hasan Askari
    Apr 14, 2015 - 9:53PM

    Fed Up

    How sweet. How about putting a local government system there and giving power to “all Pakistanis” living in Karachi?

    Of course lot of people are killed in Karachi. When you will send extremists, taliban, lashkars, jaish and TTP what do you expect?

    And you are not interested in removing any fear. There is no fear. And neither you are interested in any justice.

    In the end it is all about grabbing power, money and resources and putting a non-merit system in place.

    Spare me next time. Recommend

  • Jawad Qidwai
    Apr 14, 2015 - 9:57PM

    Hasan Askari, I completely agree with you.

    The establishment cannot win in Karachi, their dirty minds are in danger of losing a losing game and the dirty minds of PTI, PML-N, Rangers and PPP. The establishment cannot get a foothold in Karachi and they cannot put in the corrupt kingpins as well.

    They are bullying and harassing the MQM and all that will hit PTI and MQM in the face badlyRecommend

  • Emad
    Apr 14, 2015 - 10:14PM

    Well done Rangers. Its no point carrying out the elections in NA-246 if its not water tight; Because Na Maloom Afraad have phd in rigging Elections. Recommend

  • Adnan
    Apr 14, 2015 - 10:20PM

    I attended a strategic dialogue moot in 2007 that was held in New York City. The topic of focus was S. Asia, and how Pakistan may disintegrate into many federal units someday. A leading lobbyist for the European Union specifically mentioned the MQM, and stated that it is one of the only few parties the West can and should deal with, as they share the same common values and norms. What is unfolding in Karachi right now, may indeed be the prelude to a devastating nightmare that is about to unfold…….Recommend

  • ali
    Apr 14, 2015 - 10:32PM

    @Fed Up:
    excellent reply. Majority of People want peace, education and jobs. Karachi belongs to everyone.Recommend

  • Urdu-Speaking
    Apr 14, 2015 - 10:49PM

    @Hasan Askari:

    What if I told you what the Rangers are doing is commonplace in the whole world (incl. USA?) At least this will ensure that there is proof if anyone tries to do anything wrong, including the Rangers or the MQM. Surely there is MUCH more proof of terrorism by MQM against Pakistanis than Rangers (who are a very respectable force in Pakistan). Karachi does not only belong to Urdu speaking people (I am also Urdu speaking, used to support MQM, but now don’t). When you start thinking of Karachi as a city for people of all ethnicities, that is when you will finish the divides that so plague this city. However, I would like to say your comment is absurd and almost Karachiite (except gangsters and people who negatively benefit from MQM) hate MQM.Recommend

  • reader
    Apr 14, 2015 - 10:56PM

    Rangers is not a Law Enforcement Agency. It is a National Security Enforcement Agency.

    If ECP does not provide reasonable measures for free & fair elections without due cause, then it can be fairly assumed that they are party to non-free & non-fair, “RIGGED” elections.

    If elections are “RIGGED” then there is all possibility that there are forces behind rigging which are foreign forces that are national security threat to Pakistan.

    Therefore, the ECP personnel should then be deemed a grave national security threat, and as such they should be promptly neutralized (shot-to-kill) by Rangers or Army or other concerned National Security Enforcement Agency.

    I hope, that elections should be free and fair, and ECP personnel are not shot-to-be-killed.Recommend

  • woody
    Apr 14, 2015 - 11:02PM

    Makes sense – these are the guys that have to deal with the violence associated with alleged rigged elections. Further – biometric identification works and makes it much more difficult to rig an election as demonstrated by Nigeria.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Apr 15, 2015 - 12:01AM

    So ahead of polls rangers accept that they are incapable of ensuring free and fair elections. They are incapable of controlling violence, theft, and now elections as well. Why are we Karachiites harvesting them, they’re up to no good. Recommend

  • saeed
    Apr 15, 2015 - 12:23AM

    No matter what they do, MQM will win the elections. I would suggest stop MQM from taking part in elections. Thats the only way for PTI or JI to win elections and to make ‘karachi for everyone’ people happy.Recommend

  • salman
    Apr 15, 2015 - 1:48AM

    @Hasan Askari:
    Well, I am an Urdu speaking from Karachi and I fully endorse this idea of rangers. How come installing CC tv cams and biometrics will harm urdu speaking. It might harm your sort of narrow minded people who have ruined this great city in the name ethnicity. What is your problem if a fair election can happen. For your info, candidates of pti and JI are also urdu speaking. Outsider like Altaf, a british citizen living outside pak for over 20 yrs has no right to rule urdu speaking ppl. Just use your mind if you have one.Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 15, 2015 - 7:42AM

    I am not a MQM supporter but Rangers has no legal or moral right to interfere in the administrative process of any kind of Election.that is a job of Election commission Recommend

  • WB
    Apr 15, 2015 - 8:30AM

    @Kashif: When both provincial and federal governments are negligent in their duties then somebody has to step in and clean this mess!Recommend

  • Moazzam Ali
    Apr 15, 2015 - 8:32AM

    Hassan Askari completely agree with you.
    A person who wore hard boot have small in his mind. It is recommended that allow to wear soft shoes that help them to think from there mind. A week ago an election held at Azad Kashmir but where we couldn’t hear any voice to use biometric system or installation of CCTV camera in pooling booth.
    An advice for Rangers only to keep concentrate on water hydrants, occupies colleges, schools and Housing scheme. You cannot win bi-election NA-246Recommend

  • Jawed Saleem
    Apr 15, 2015 - 9:49AM

    One of the major factors contributing to prevailing (and lingering) problems of Karachi have been “politicizing” of police.
    And now with “politicizing” of LEAs (Rangers) and Media, the situation will only aggravate/worsen. Polarization will further bleed Pakistan. Time bomb is ticking, volcano is rumbling as country approach the outer fringes of storm “Great Game”. Remember Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen !Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Apr 15, 2015 - 9:50AM

    Since the holding of elections is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, it is natural for the Sind provincial election commissioner Tanveer Zaki to claim that it is not the Ranger’s job to demand biometric voting in the elections. However, since the Rangers have been entrusted the duty of looking after the law and order situations concerning the elections in NA-246, it would seem in order for them to make any suggestions which, in their view, could help in the orderly holding of the elections, except that such requests and suggestions should be made to, and processed by the concerned department, which happens to be the election. commission in this case.

    And while on the face of it, the biometric system would seem to be the ideal way of eliminating fictitious voting, it is essential to ensure that the system is not only sound in theory but also practical in application. And to ensure that, the system has to be thoroughly tested, and weaknesses and flaws removed, so as to make it as much poolproof as is humanly possible. And in the absence of such tests having been carried out, the system may not only not serve its purpose, but make the voting process far more faulty and prone to misuse, thus making it worse than a manual system.

    Obviously, with the election commission at the receiving end and being the punching bag in case of faulty elections, it is only natural, and fair that it should have the final say in whether or not to use the still untested biometric system for the forthcoming elections in NA-246 constituency.

    KarachiRecommend

  • Apr 15, 2015 - 10:09AM

    @Taimoor: Did you conveniently forget Gullu Butt in Lahore and the Model Town massacre? You also forget that most of the assembly members have bogus degrees and the Higher Education Commission, established by Musharraf, has been left to die a slow death. You also forget, the quota system being the death of merit and metros and freeways are not adding to the manufacturing output that raises the incomes and technical expertise. How come you don’t encourage villagers to live in their homes and work in industries established there for extracting raw materials and increase manufacturing output?. Have a nice day?
    The Rangers have made a valuable suggestion but a little late in the day considering PPP’s governing ability. SalamsRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 15, 2015 - 11:17AM

    @Political Analyst:
    At least it will be better than casting hundred thousand of fake votes!!!
    Every system has its limitation but will definitely improve with time.Recommend

  • Napier Mole
    Apr 15, 2015 - 11:38AM

    Rangers are playing an extremely dangerous game by giving a perception to Karachiites that rangers – and by extension the armed forces – are taking sides in the political stakes in the city and worse creating perception of ethnic bias. This dangerous game should be stopped. By reducing Karachi’s issues to just law and order, the powder keg of Karachi’s administrative issues is being ignored chiefly the lack of representation of its citizens in running their own affairs. Recommend

  • Hasan Askari
    Apr 15, 2015 - 5:37PM

    @salman:

    I will advice you to work on your IQ level. Let me explain again

    It is not about the system. It is about how it is being implemented.

    It is not the job of rangers to suggest anything. They are not a political entity. That is the problem. Also such a system cannot be implemented on selective basis. Just because PTi says that elections are fake does not mean they are fake. Rangers are suggesting and endorsing view of PTI. That too when they have no business.

    We will only accept such a system when it happens from Peshawar to Karachi. This is not a banana republic (or maybe it is) that you apply selective rules just because you have agendas.

    In NWFP bunch of oldies decided that women cannot vote. That is fearRecommend

  • OBSERVER
    Apr 15, 2015 - 7:12PM

    one day Ranger will demand right to cast vote in bye election NA246..Recommend

  • Shazia Bangash
    Apr 15, 2015 - 7:28PM

    @Hasan Askari: We heard these sort of “arguments” when IK called for neutral umpires in cricket, and we still do from India against DRS. MQM knows it can’t win a fair election, and if it loses Azizabad – its finished.Recommend

  • Iram
    Apr 15, 2015 - 7:48PM

    Have you ever raised your voice against killers, land grabbers, etc? You feel insult if someone challange your human right but dont you think people who murdered by …………. were also having rights? Think about it and dont bring storm in a tea cup.Recommend

  • Omeir Khan
    Apr 15, 2015 - 7:58PM

    @Hasan Askari

    It is time you come out of the victimized mentality that Altaf Hussain has taught from Day 1. What have you guys done for Muhajirs? Absolutely nothing….. half the graves in azizabad are from MQM killing its own Mahajir community. The crying worked in the 90’s but not anymore… we need true, transparent and clean elections. I am NA-246 voter and my vote will be going for peace. Recommend

  • Hasan Askari
    Apr 15, 2015 - 9:54PM

    Everyone cleverly ignores the point of local government system. lol.

    @Shazia Bangash:

    A person who claims MQM cannot win in Karachi and Azizabad in fair election either has some issues with MQM/Urdu Speakers/Karachites or just needs a trip to a mental doctor. When you are on the ground you see their presence. They are the local people. They are there for small issues. During local government they were their working. They are from us. They are like us. They speak, behave, live like us. We relate to them. Their culture values are like us.

    A person like Imran Ismail comes in his fancy car once in a while for elections. He is not from us. In same manner IK is not for us. He is extremist mindset, he does not care about local issues, he believes in selective justice, he is a coward, master of U-turns. He has nothing in common with real people of Karachi. He doesnt care about quota system, discrimination faced by Muhajirs in government jobs, local government etc.

    You can continue to spread your propoganda but problem is you will fail again and again. It is like banging your head on a wall. Try 15 times and it wont change.

    This is not cricket.

    @OK

    Appreciate your concerns for Muhajirs, Don’t worry despite all the problems we still manage to do well. When we did not get the due we have to settle abroad and when we go there we are doing great. The problem is that in Pakistan we are not allowed to govern our own issues which happens in every other nation.

    What you non karachites need is 1) to mind your own local issues. 2) stop worrying about other cities 3) stop doing saazishs 4) respect people and their votes 5) stop labeling others mandate as fake. it is an insult

    Does any real Karachite meddle in issues of Lahore? We don’t care. People of Lahore should deal with it. We don’t ask for rangers and cctv in Lahore. We will be okay if this is implemented in whole Pakistan. However we won’t tolerate selective implementation.

    Karachi did best when Musharraf (an unbiased person) gave people their dues. However you could nnot digest that and removed all the good he did. You stopped the flow of money at provincial level so you could loot. You collect revenue for the city but you have problems in giving it back

    Rest of the Pakistan need to be freed from PML PPP and PTI mindset. It is they who need to be rescued and educated. They are being taught wrong things. People who are from urdu community do really connect with MQm right now. That does not mean everyone does but I mean majority.

    Let us live in peace and please stop this crap of I am from NA246 and Karachi. Let the election decide. You guys want to remove MQM but are not going for local government because secretly you know MQM will then govern. Typical hypocrite behaviorRecommend

  • Napier Mole
    Apr 16, 2015 - 1:42AM

    @ Hasan Askari

    Hats off. You are doung a great job putting forward Karachi’s case. More power to your pen!Recommend

  • Haris
    Apr 16, 2015 - 9:32AM

    If govt of Pak has put rangers in charge of ensuring free and fair elections, then they are bound to and their duty is to give recommendations on it and if they are not doing so they are not performing their duty. So this is a very rightful demand CCTV camera cost no more than 1000 rs per camera …this is nothing…So stop putting on your lame excuses and defending a corrupt system.Recommend

  • namaloom
    Apr 16, 2015 - 10:42AM

    @ Hasan Askari and company

    Installing biometric system will ensure free and fair elections. If you think MQM won in 2013 elections, they should win with the biometric system or any other verification system.

    IT DOESNT MATTER WHO IS SAYING TO USE BIOMETRIC SYSTEM FOR ELECTIONS

    PERIOD Recommend

  • tribal
    Apr 16, 2015 - 4:19PM

    Seems like the establishment toadies of Musharraf era want the same preferential treatment as always. No to them.Recommend

  • Waseem
    Apr 16, 2015 - 9:48PM

    @Hasan Askari:
    very well written and thought provoking.Recommend

  • Waseem
    Apr 16, 2015 - 10:08PM

    @Hasan Askari:
    Dear sir, you are spot-on.Recommend

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