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Election in Karachi flawed: ECP

12 May, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan said on Saturday that it failed to hold free and fair election in the country's commercial centre and biggest city, Karachi. "We have been unable to carry out free and fair election in Karachi," it said in a statement.

It is unclear whether the commission's conclusion means national elections will have to be held again.

The chief election commissioner (CEC) raised his concerns with the Karachi Corps Commander and Rangers director general that polling staff in many constituencies in Karachi had been threatened, which prevented them from performing election duties.

"In other instances, attempts have been made to hijack the vehicles transporting voting material from the returning officers to the polling stations. This has caused serious delays in polling, especially in NA-250," it added. The ECP has directed all the presiding officers to provide a copy of the statement of count and the ballot paper account to such of the candidates, their election agents or polling agents as may be present and obtain a receipt for such copy.

In this regard, directions have also been issued to all district returning officers and returning officers for strict compliance as per Section 38(11) of the Representation of People Act, 1976. The ECP has established a complaint centre at the ECP Secretariat under the supervision of director general (elections and budget). This complaint centre will work for 24 hours and receive complaints regarding violation of code of conduct, polling stations, etc.

A spokesman for the commission said that the general public or candidates could file their complaints regarding breach of code of conduct by any individual or party to the commission on telephone numbers: 051-9210801, 051-9210802, 051-9210803, 051-9210804 and 051-9210805.

Meanwhile, the ECP has decided to hold fresh polling at 42 polling stations in NA-250 Karachi-XIII, Sindh Assembly PS-112 Karachi-XXIV and PS-113 Karachi-XXV.

This has been decided keeping in view the proposal of the district returning officer for stopping of polling in certain polling stations of NA-250 Karachi-XIII, PS-112 Karachi-XXIV and PS-113 Karachi-XXV.

According to the request, the polling process could not be commenced until 2pm. Therefore, it has been directed that polling at stations 4, 7, 11, 48, 52, 56, 57, 58, 60, 62, 78, 97, 98, 100, 101, 104, 106, 110, 113, 114, 115, 117, 121, 122, 131, 135, 136, 137, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 148, 157, 165, 168, 175, 177, 179 and 180 of the said constituencies shall be stopped. The new date for polling in the said stations shall be notified separately, an EC order mentioned.

End.

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