ISLAMABAD: While the inquiry commission formed to probe the May 2013 general elections stated that by and large the elections were fair and as per law, it has recommended that the Election Commission of Pakistan should consider holding next elections in Karachi under the supervision of the Army.
The recommendation was made in view of the concerns expressed by certain political parties that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had used intimidation to manipulate elections result in the port city, in addition to challenges of law and order.
“Due to the prevailing law and order situation in Karachi, unless this dramatically improves by the time of the next election, the ECP should seriously consider holding the elections in Karachi under the supervision of the Army so that such grievances can be avoided in the future”, the commission’s 237-page report says.
Read: 2013 elections: Inquiry panel rejects rigging allegations
The report further states that there is evidence to suggest that in certain constituencies in Karachi the organisation and conduct of the election at a few polling stations, areas was not entirely fair or in complete accordance with the law. It added that “on balance it cannot be found that the elections in Karachi were not in large part fair and in accordance with the law.”
“There is little evidence to support the Jamaat-e-Islami's contention that the MQM had any part to play in interfering with or influencing the electoral rolls.”
The commission further stated that with regards to Karachi, at best aberrations have only been cast on 27 out of 35 seats (NA and PA combined), whilst Sindh (including Karachi) consists of 191 combined NA and PA seats, adding that these allegations therefore only represent a very small number of seats for the entire province.
Read: Inquiry commission's report endorses PML-N's mandate: PM Nawaz
With regards to the allegation that the MQM had employed intimidation against workers of the MQM-H and JI prior to the elections, the commission said that there appeared to be some evidence to suggest that such tactics may have been employed in a few constituencies which may have discouraged other parties from campaigning. However, such evidence is far from over whelming or by any means decisive.
The commission points out that neither orders from the Sindh High Court nor the Chief Election Commissioner, in connection with allowing MQM-H chief Afaq Ahmed to campaign, were implemented and are particularly troubling. The commission suggested that the ECP and the administration should ensure that no such situation arises in the future by ensuring that its orders are strictly implemented.
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