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Mysterious fire burns ECP's 2013 general election record

23 September, 2014

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LAHORE: Valuable record and articles related to May 2013 general elections of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was allegedly burnt in a mysterious fire that erupted in the basement of Government Central Model School, Rattigon Road on Monday noon.

The ECP authorities have not confirmed the reason behind eruption of fire or shown concern of any conspiracy behind the incident and such confusion has raised questions about institutional impartiality, especially when some opposition parties are levelling allegations of rigging in the last general elections and are demanding the government resign and call fresh elections.

The ECP was using the school basement for keeping its records and articles since last one and a half years. On Monday, the fire suddenly erupted in the basement when classes were on, creating panic among pupils as well as teachers.

The school administration immediately got the premises evacuated after announcing closure. The school administration also claimed that they had asked the ECP to shift its material and vacate their basement on a number of occasions but to no avail.

On the other hand, the ECP has issued a press note in which it has clarified that only some articles related to conduct of elections like ink, ballot boxes and stamps were stored in the school basement and that no record pertaining to the last general elections was placed there. It further stated that any material pertaining to the 2013 general elections was not affected in the fire incident, as material only pertaining to upcoming by-elections and local government elections was stored there.

Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Mian Mahmoodur Rashid has accused the Punjab government of "deliberately" destroying the material to "conceal" their rigging in the May 2013 general elections. It is also pertinent to mention here that ECP authorities were of the view that the fire erupted because of short-circuiting in the school basement but chances of any conspiracy were also not out of question. No first information report has been lodged by the ECP till the filing this report.

End.

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