PTI streaks ahead in polls marred by violence

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As unofficial results pour in, opponents of K-P’s ruling party question fairness. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS

As unofficial results pour in, opponents of K-P’s ruling party question fairness. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS

As unofficial results pour in, opponents of K-P’s ruling party question fairness. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS Security Forces taking control of the area after clashes between political parties. PHOTO: EXPRESS
DI KHAN / KOHAT / CHARSADDA / PESHAWAR / CHITRAL / ABBOTABAD: 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) streaked ahead of its political rivals in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s local government elections on Saturday against the backdrop of violent clashes, mismanagement and inadequate security measures. Its opponents also raised a red flag over the fairness of the poll, accusing the ruling party in K-P of rigging.

According to unofficial results, the PTI was leading in district and town councils across the province in the polls – which were held after a decade. The Awami National Party (ANP) trailed just behind PTI.

Violence and other murky events of the day contributed to the delay in results. Election officials were hesitant to step out of the polling stations, fearing that they might be attacked and the polling material snatched.

Preliminary results collated from different parts of the province showed that PTI candidates are ahead of their rivals in Haripur on six of the 45 union councils, while six seats have been secured by independent candidates and four by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) district president Zulfiqar Qureshi was ahead of his rival candidates for the tehsil council seat from UC central.

In Abbottabad, out of the total 51 UCs, the results received so far revealed that the PTI and the PML-N both have won two seats, while one was secured by an independent candidate.

In Battagram district, the spoils appear to have been shared by PTI and JUI-F candidates. Imran Khan’s party has also won six tehsil council seats and five district council seats from 20 UCs, while the JUI-F, which enjoys the support of the PML-N, has won five district and three tehsil council seats.

Peace in Chitral

Low voter turnout was recorded across Chitral district. Like in other parts of the province, the slow voting process weighed heavily on the minds of voters in Chitral.

However, unlike in other parts of the province, the polling process in Chitral remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from across the district.

11 dead in scuffles

At least 11 people were killed and around 62 injured – two women and 60 men, including five policemen – across K-P in election-related scuffles and shooting incidents.

Eight people were reported dead in Charsadda alone: a man was gunned down in a brawl in Sherpao, two brothers who belonged to the QWP were gunned down in Tarnab, a man was killed in Tangi, two were killed in firing in Mandani and two bodies were found from a graveyard.
Another person was shot dead in Kohat and two others in DI Khan. Around 58 people were booked by police in Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi for resorting to violence at polling stations while 47 people were arrested in Peshawar.

Allegations abound

The election was marred by missing symbols on ballot papers, allegations of rigging, nepotism and political interference. Polling came to a halt at many stations as candidates levelled allegations of rigging against one another. As a result, scuffles broke out at several stations.

A majority of allegations were hurled over the electoral process at polling stations for women. A large number of candidates from the tripartite alliance of opposition parties accused the PTI of being involved in rigging at polling stations for women.

However, Tariq Zubair, a presiding officer at Payo Kalay, refuted the allegations. According to some candidates, a ballot box had gone missing from a polling station in Maryamzai union council of Koh-e-Daman.

Hostage situation

In Peshawar, angry supporters of a political party held three policemen and three polling staffers hostage at a government-run school for girls on Warsak Road over rigging allegations. They were released when a contingent of servicemen was sent to rescue them.

Around 60 supporters of the same party also held police and polling staff hostage at a government primary school for girls in Khazana Bala. A similar incident occurred in Khadra Khel. In all cases, the army and police recovered the ballot boxes from the schools and shifted them to the DC office for counting.

“This is all pre-planned. PTI supporters are doing it to invite army intervention and then the ballot boxes are shifted to the DC office for counting, instead of counting inside the polling stations, because supporters of the ruling party are sure of their defeat,” claimed Faiz Muhammad, a former naib nazim.

CM deflects blame

K-P Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak said the provincial government had extended all-out support to the Election Commission of Pakistan, so it was the commission’s responsibility to address the complaints being made about the polls. Khattak certified as fair and transparent the overall election process.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2015.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Layman
    May 31, 2015 - 9:46AM

    This is the total failure of Election commission and show how serious and capable they are.
    CM KPK specifically told them that they don’t have enough law enforcement for this huge exercise. He even proposed to to the LB elections in 4 phases as there are 4 divisions in KPK..Election commission promised to bring in army and FC for the help, they lied and now putting blame on KPK police.Remember this is the police which as institution has been ruined in 65 years..Recommend

  • raider
    May 31, 2015 - 10:51AM

    these are not elections to be defined in any democratic country, EC totally failed and be exposed that how institutionally EC is weak and seemed as novice. one thing to add, Pakistani are not any more democratic rather power grabbers using word democracy.Recommend

  • khanBaba
    May 31, 2015 - 12:26PM

    We all Pathans will support our Imran khan and Reham Khan….Recommend

  • Ex-PTI
    May 31, 2015 - 12:28PM

    Shame on PTI for being unable to protect citizens. CM KPK should be arrested for this criminal negligence, 14 people have been killed who is responsible for their lives?
    and how come the saints of PTI are rigging? Recommend

  • May 31, 2015 - 8:21PM

    PTI fulfill the promise of devotion and free and fair election.Recommend

  • Xnain
    May 31, 2015 - 11:12PM

    @LawaTimes:
    Yeah totally free and fair elections where the sitting minister and an MPA of PTI were caught red handed trying to rig the polling……Free and Fair as per Inqilabi logic…Recommend

  • Ali Khan
    Jun 1, 2015 - 1:49AM

    Large scale rigging was done by PTI. PTI should resign and and re-elections held.Recommend

  • Ridwan
    Jun 1, 2015 - 5:27AM

    Will PTI ignore ANPs claims of rigging? Or will the PTI investigate the elections? It must investigate, otherwise it will look hypocritical.Recommend

  • Ridwan
    Jun 1, 2015 - 5:28AM

    @khanBaba:
    No, not all of us Pathans care much for PTI. Stop trying to make this an ethnic vote.Recommend

  • expat
    Jun 1, 2015 - 7:50AM

    @Ex-PTI:
    Oh get out of hereRecommend

  • expat
    Jun 1, 2015 - 7:55AM

    @Ridwan:
    Dont just claim, bring out some proof. What you are suggesting is merely to retaliate without any merit.Recommend

  • Xnain
    Jun 1, 2015 - 4:57PM

    @Ridwan:
    ANP,JUI-F and JI bagging good seats, what does this reflect Mr.Expatstein?Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Jun 2, 2015 - 7:53PM

    @khanBaba:

    First, Imran “Khan” is not a real Pukhtun.
    second, a fraud like Imran “Khan” should not be supported by anyone, Pukhtun or non Pukhtun alike.Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Jun 2, 2015 - 7:55PM

    @expat:
    you are full of yourself.Recommend

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