K-P LG polls — what next?

Blaming ECP for the shambles that prevailed is disingenuous. There has to be shared responsibility for local election

Editorial June 03, 2015
A voter in Charsadda shows a torn ballot paper. PHOTO: SAMEER RAZIQ/EXPRESS

The good news is that Imran Khan, leader of the Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has not rejected outright claims of rigging in the recent local government elections held in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Instead, he has said on June 2 that the provincial government was ready to hold fresh elections, this time under the supervision of the army — a time-consuming and expensive exercise. There ends the good news. It is a fact that despite having plenty of advance notice of the polls both, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the provincial government of K-P failed at a number of levels when it came to running a free, fair and transparent election. There was violence, killings, women were deprived of the vote in at least one constituency, allegations of rigging were rife from the outset of polling, the police in some places appeared partisan and less than diligent and nobody, the PTI aside, appears satisfied with the outcome(s).

Considering the amount of criticism to say nothing of the allegations of rigging in the last general election in 2013 that have been made by Imran Khan and his supporters, it is both surprising and disappointing that his party — which is in power in K-P let us not forget — were not able to better organise the local elections than was clearly the case.

Blaming the ECP for the shambles that prevailed in some places is disingenuous. There has to be a shared responsibility for an enterprise as complex and fraught as a local election. Both the ECP and the provincial government down to district level had a duty to cooperate and coordinate and they failed to do either in a uniform manner. In addition, the K-P government showed itself to be unable to contain the violence, and clashes between rival groups left in their wake needless loss of lives.

If, as seems possible, a re-polling is ruled as necessary, then we call on all parties to act in a professional manner, but are saddened to find that once again the military has to be called upon as the arbiter of the democratic process, clearly indicating the inability of civilian institutions to do their job in a competent manner.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th,  2015.

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OS | 6 years ago | Reply the question is :who is responsible for the police when LG elections are taking place? ECP? Then how can you hold the local government responsible? Isnt the police supposed to be acting independently of the local govt? So how can you hold the local government responsible? There has to be clear accountability. Reform is a must....if not reform, then atleast clarity.
Toticalling | 6 years ago | Reply If women were barred from giving their vote, that election is invalid. In South Africa they did not allow certain section to participate, we called them racists and apartheid dark days. In Pakistan you get a passing reference. What a great country.
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