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ECP admits foul play in last years' general polls

23 September, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: It took the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) more than 17 months to finally admit that serious irregularities took place in May 2013 general polls right under its nose.

The Commission has released a review report, wherein it is admitted that serious foul play was committed during last years' polls. A draft of the 175-page report titled 'Post-Election Review Report (General Elections 2013)' was released on ECP's website Monday. The report admitted that candidates got clearance to contest elections without proper scrutiny as the State Bank, FBR, NADRA and NAD did not cooperate fully with the ECP. It also pointed out that a Results Management System devised by the UNDP was a failure.

The report said that in some areas, teams appointed by the ECP for campaign monitoring could not deliver the expected outcome, and violations of the code of conduct by some candidates went unnoticed. Another challenge faced was lack of support from political parties and contesting as candidates they were seen violating the code of conduct that was formulated in consultation with them. They certainly had responsibilities to make electoral process smooth and credible. The ROs had the full authority to accept or reject nomination papers of the contesting candidates, but the ECP did not issue specific instructions on how to undertake this process and it was left to the ROs' discretion/judicial competence, the report said.

It added provisions of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution are subjective, and the application of these clauses varied from one RO to another. This caused inconsistencies in the scrutiny process. The new nomination form has superfluous information and many aspiring candidates sought help in completing this new form. The ECP tried to obtain and make public potential candidates' records of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and NADRA.

The scrutiny period was too short, and some of these organizations did not provide information in the required time, so candidates were cleared without proper verification. A centralized scrutiny cell was set up in the ECP Secretariat with members from NAB, SBP, FBR and NADRA to verify the candidates' nomination papers.

End.

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