Sunday May 19, 2024

ECP finally makes election-related forms public

Results tempered in Form 45s, accuses PTI

By Nausheen Yusuf
March 05, 2024
Security personnel stand guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel stand guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: After failing to meet the legal deadline for making the election-related documents public, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday uploaded Forms 45, 46, 48, and 49, amid allegations of rigging and tempering results by the opposition parties.

The election regulator uploaded the election-related forms of all the constituencies of provincial and national assemblies, almost two weeks after the expiry of the stipulated time. The deadline for publishing the forms expired on February 22.

Last month, a senior ECP official conceded it was unlikely for the electoral body to meet the legal deadline despite the best efforts, something it could not do in the past as well, owing to various reasons.

He explained that some 300 petitions, regarding the difference between forms 45 and 47 had landed at the ECP on the orders of high courts.

The official pointed out that many petitioners were carrying Forms 45 which were different from the ones the respondents had in possession.

Earlier this week, lambasting the eight-party ruling coalition in the National Assembly, PTI leader and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmaker Omar Ayub Khan dubbed newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif a “product” of Form 47 — a document which provides insight into unconfirmed results of a constituency, including the number of votes cast and cancelled.

The PTI claimed its mandate was stolen in the February 8 general elections and results were changed in Form 47s.

ECP finally makes election-related forms public

The Imran Khan-founded party also claimed they won 180 NA seats as per the statistics of Form 45s.

It is pertinent to mention here that Form 45, also known as the Presiding Officer's Results of the Count, is the form that the presiding officer (PO) is required to sign and provide with his thumb impression and signature to the polling agents.

This form records the number of votes cast in a polling station. It also separately mentions how many votes a candidate received from that polling station.

The purpose of this form is to prevent any alteration during the process, ensuring transparency in the results. This is admissible in court too.

Form 46 is the form that has the count for the ballot papers. It has the number of ballot papers received at a polling station, the number of ballot papers taken out of the ballot box, tendered ballot papers, challenged, spoiled, stray, and cancelled ballot papers at a polling station.

Form 47 is another important form related to polling stations. In this form, the count of votes from all the polling stations of a constituency is recorded by the Returning Officer.

This makes a provisional consolidated result of the constituency sans postal ballots. A postal ballot is a ballot of a registered voter and it is filled and sent to the voting centre through postal mail by the person eligible for postal ballot.

Form 48 is the Consolidated Statement of Results of the Count showing votes cast in favour of each candidate, at every polling station within a constituency. This form also includes the number of postal ballots.

Form 49 is the final and Official Consolidated Result Form. It includes the names of the candidates, their party affiliations, and the number of votes received in the constituency.

It is prepared at the constituency level and contains the total number of votes obtained by each candidate. This form is included in the Gazette of Pakistan.

Sharing the ECP’s Form 45s and the “actual” Form 45s on its official X handle, the PTI claimed that the documents exposed "rigging".  In addition to this, the former ruling party claimed that their mandate was stolen and results were changed to benefit their political opponents.