Each time the dust seems to settle over the local government polls controversy, another development creates a stir. The Election Commission of Pakistan announced incomplete results 25 days after Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa voted in local representatives; many results were withheld and over 4,000 seats will hold by-polls.
In a 7,000-page document issued on Wednesday (also available on ECP’s website), winners of 1,862 district and tehsil council seats and approximately 33,000 neighbourhood and village council seats were announced. By-polls on over 4,000 neighbourhood and village seats, four district and one tehsil seats will be conducted after Eidul Fitr.
Results of all 23 districts, excluding Kohistan [bifurcation of which is sub judice], have been notified. Results of those seats where RO and DROs recommended re-polls due to irregularities, have been withheld by the commission.
As many as 349 non-Muslim candidates contested polls on Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s total 3,339 minority seats. In all 84,420 candidates vied for 41,762 seats in polls that were blanketed by irregularity and rigging allegations.
“The schedule for the by-polls will be announced in the coming week,” an ECP official requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
“Of the count, more than 2,000 seats for non-Muslims were left uncontested after the May 30 polls.” He said, “Four district and one tehsil seats will also be polled again, where elected candidates have either died or were disqualified.”
When asked, the official said re-elections would be held in those polling stations where irregularities and mismanagement were noted and respective returning officers submitted their applications regarding issues.
At least 92 election tribunals have been set up across K-P and “they will start functioning after official notification is issued”. He added, “District and sessions judges and additional district and sessions judges will see the grievance petitions which should be submitted by candidates within 20 days of the notification.”
Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s hometown Nowshera district witnessed the highest number of irregularities as the ECP has withheld results for 21 of its 47 wards. Out of the 21, seven are in Jehangira tehsil and Pabbi tehsil each and eight are in Nowshera tehsil.
Besides Nowshera, results for Abbottabad’s seven wards were also withheld – six in Abbottabad tehsil and one in Havelian tehsil.
The ECP has also proposed re-polls in 10 wards of Mardan and one of Battagram. Results of nine out of Bannu’s 49 district councils and one in Buner have been withheld.
Out of Charsadda’s 49 wards, results of 16 have not been notified.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2015.