Rigging probe: Ballots printed under army supervision, says PML-N

Published: May 10, 2015
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Says outdated machines, manpower shortage necessitated outsourcing. PHOTO: PAK AAJ

Says outdated machines, manpower shortage necessitated outsourcing. PHOTO: PAK AAJ

ISLAMABAD: 

Responding to the testimony of the former election commissioner of Punjab, who revealed that extra ballot papers were printed in several of the province’s constituencies, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has said that the ballots were printed under army’s supervision.

In a written reply submitted to a three-member inquiry commission probing allegations of rigging in the 2013 general elections, PML-N’s counsel Shahid Hamid admitted that the process of printing and delivery of ballot papers for the polls was delayed because of outdated printing machines, shortage of manpower and capacity issues.

Claiming that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took all major decisions in consultation with the political parties, the government in its response made it clear that private corporations printed ballots under the supervision of the army. The ruling PML-N incorporated this aspect repeatedly in its reply to satisfy the qualms of opposition parties.

Citing a letter written by the ECP, the government said that although the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP) and the Pakistan Security Printing Corporation were responsible for printing ballot papers, the election body delegated this task to the Pakistan Post Foundation Press.

According to the government, PCP Islamabad only had one printing machine available which was 40 years old. Since the machine had no numbering function, four million ballot papers had to be processed manually.

The government said ECP employed additional manpower through public advertisement for binding and numbering ballot papers once the finance division did not allow the purchase of four new machines. It held the finance division responsible for not approving the ECP summary to acquire four new machines for binding and numbering ballot papers.

For Karachi, the election commission hired 107 people from Faisal Book Binding. From Lahore, 92 people were employed from Muallam Publishing Company and in Islamabad, 80 people were hired from Assad Muhammad Printing Press.

The government’s counsel also submitted details of all meetings, deliberations and decisions taken by the ECP. All stakeholders and 16 political parties, including the PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, had met the then chief election commissioner and expressed satisfaction with the electoral body’s policies.

The ruling party is expected to submit a list of witnesses on Monday when the inquiry commission resumes its hearing. The judges have already issued notices for the remaining witnesses. In his sworn testimony before the inquiry commission headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk on Thursday, former Punjab election commissioner Mehboob Anwar, who oversaw the 2013 polls in the province, confessed he got papers printed on the request of returning officers (ROs) in several constituencies.

“I do not know the [exact] number but in many constituencies ballot papers beyond the 100% electorate were printed on the request of ROs,” he had said.

In a follow-up statement a day later, the former Punjab poll boss admitted that ROs did not adhere to the election commission’s formula for demanding extra ballot papers. “While some ROs requested for only three per cent extra ballot papers, in other cases the ROs asked for up to 30 per cent more ballot papers than the total registered voters,” claimed Anwar.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Mir
    May 10, 2015 - 10:06AM

    Why N-leauge is posting replies…the answers should come from the caretaker government particularly Najam SethiRecommend

  • Asad S
    May 10, 2015 - 10:23AM

    Update everything from ground. Start from zero and do the elections again. 2011 one was a farce.Recommend

  • Zubair Ali
    May 10, 2015 - 11:17AM

    Makes sense, PTI has no basis for crying foul. Since ballot papers were printed under army supervision.Recommend

  • Qwells
    May 10, 2015 - 11:30AM

    Even if the elections are conducted 10 times, PTI can never win. Only solution is to leave PTI to its own misery.Recommend

  • Khumz
    May 10, 2015 - 12:03PM

    Pakistan needs political stability instead of re elections. Everybody is tired of these hearings. We want to know about the progress of projects not this rubbish election rigging probe which is baseless. How can a country prosper which wastes three years just on scrutinising elections while the world is advancing in every aspect. PTI must be talking about electoral reforms and move on just for the larger interest of the country!Recommend

  • Timorlane
    May 10, 2015 - 12:09PM

    In Urdu bazar too ???Recommend

  • Mao Billi
    May 10, 2015 - 12:34PM

    But Captain Safdar, was thrown out of army, long time ago!!! Haw Haye!!Recommend

  • oBSERVER
    May 10, 2015 - 12:52PM

    Noon League is helping every one to dig its GRAVE. We all remember who went to congratulate him much before the final counting and Nawaz Sharif’s ill timed speech that raised eyebrows in all democratic world. You see typical of the two brothers; all hat no cattle. Means empty at the top.Recommend

  • Saleem
    May 10, 2015 - 1:15PM

    Pmln will find every excuse in the world to hide their rigging. Only a thieve would come up with so many excuses. Judges should order a 14 physical remand of all who benefited from this rigged election. Recommend

  • raider
    May 10, 2015 - 1:27PM

    @Qwells:
    think if pti would have campaigned well and fielded better candidates at Rawalpindi cantonment board and got half seats as in general election what had been the results by just changing the result of one cantonment board, at least learn to tolerate others, no one is ever green one will have to be replaced other at one time or other Recommend

  • Malveros
    May 10, 2015 - 2:15PM

    2013 elections were the fairest. PTI is just wasting time in nonsense and non-issues. Recommend

  • Ashfaq11
    May 10, 2015 - 2:57PM

    Why can’t we leave the commission to complete its proceedings and arrive at a conclusion. There will be many claims and counter claims and cross examination. Let’s hope this strengthens the electoral process going forwardRecommend

  • A J Khan
    May 10, 2015 - 4:43PM

    Ballot papers were printed under Army in security Printing Press. Printing in Urdu Bazar was done under Election Commission under instructions of Iftikhar ChRecommend

  • xor
    May 10, 2015 - 10:41PM

    So Urdu Bazar comes under cantonment too?

    At one time whole pmln was rejecting about printing of ballot papers from Urdu Bazar, even they made fun of IK over this. But now everyone knows what is the truth. Recommend

  • simply
    May 11, 2015 - 12:15AM

    no worries for pmln, they have the punjabi voteRecommend

  • fOOL qWELLER
    May 11, 2015 - 1:54AM

    @Qwells:
    tHIS MUST BE ONLY YOUR DREAM BABY IN A ROOM WHEN YOU ARE ALL ALONE AND IT NEVER COMES OUT AND YOU BLAME PTI Recommend

  • Basit
    May 11, 2015 - 2:02AM

    Do everything and make Army responsible Modis logic. Seems like Modis followers are ruling Pakistan what Army is waiting for when all are trying to put there morale down this is the time when Army should protect Pakistanis from these so called pmln gullu butts they are British nationalsRecommend

  • jolly
    May 11, 2015 - 2:40AM

    pti can never win in Punjab. it’s all pmlnRecommend

  • H Chaudhry
    May 11, 2015 - 3:34AM

    @Xor Urdu baazar or whereever, Army printed and delviered ballot papers. Ask them if they did Rigging. Offcourse than you will have to prove it that Gen Kyani was involved. By the way who is this every one that knows the truth and what truth and what PMLN has to do with any thing about ballots. Go allege Gen Kyani or Ex CJP or caretake govt or whomever. PMLN has not done any thing wrong and that is being proved. Check Nanka Sahab election from 2 months ago PMLN won by 50K votes.

    @Observer Sorry no one in democratic world care about NS speech at 11 PM, when every where PMLN was leading. These kind of speeches based on trends happen every where and will happen again. Judicial comission did not even let PTI lawyer complete sentence because its such as a stupid argument.

    @Saleem Sorry it doesnot working like that! PMLN do not need to find excuses but simply provide facts to the Judicial comission. Fact here is that Army did supervise printing and delivery of Ballots so if any thing wrong happened, its ARMY and not PMLN. Offcourse Army is not involved. 2013 elections were fairest, things found are irregularities that needs to be fixed. Nothing more nothing less. Recommend

  • Hugh Slaman
    May 11, 2015 - 3:44AM

    Why is the nation asking the Army to supervise such routine matters as printing of ballot papers?
    They are a fighting force; their work time should be spent in fighting, training to fight, and nothing else at all.
    Let the Army do their job, Pakistanis, and learn to handle civilian matters by yourselves!Recommend

  • kulwant singh
    May 11, 2015 - 5:21AM

    Is Election Commission under ROs or ROs under the Election Commission, how can they ask for 3% or 30% extra ballot papers, is their no guide lines as to how much extra Ballot papers are to be supplied.Recommend

  • Jibran
    May 11, 2015 - 8:51AM

    Both Kiyani and Iftikhar Chaudhry were your cohorts.Recommend

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