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Saturday April 13, 2024

Rigging petitions drop 340pc

Pakistan’s recent general elections, held on February 8, 2024, saw 87 complaints filed with the Election Commission of Pakistan

By Farrukh Saleem
February 20, 2024
Polling officials open ballot boxes to count the votes at the polling station Government Sardar Schoo Garhi Shahul during the General Election-2024 on February 8, 2024. — APP
Polling officials open ballot boxes to count the votes at the polling station Government Sardar Schoo Garhi Shahul during the General Election-2024 on February 8, 2024. — APP

ISLAMABAD: In 2013, general elections were held on Saturday, May 11, to elect the members of the 14th National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies. Following the elections, a total of 411 petitions were filed with the Election Tribunals. Five years later, on July 25, 2018, Pakistan held general elections to elect the members of the 15th National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies. Again, a significant number of petitions, totaling 299, were filed after the results were announced.

Pakistan’s recent general elections, held on February 8, 2024, saw 87 complaints filed with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). This number represents a significant decrease compared to the 299 petitions filed after the 2018 elections, reflecting a 70% drop. If petitions are any indication, the number of rigging allegations was 340% higher in 2018 compared to 2024.

Mr. Najam Ali has analyzed the geographical distribution of the 87 complaints filed with the ECP following the 2024 general elections. Of these complaints, 22 pertain to National Assembly seats, with 10 originating from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 7 from Punjab, 3 from Sindh, and 2 from Balochistan. Notably, PTI has publicly claimed that 80 National Assembly seats were “stolen” from them. Question: If 80 National Assembly seats were “stolen” from PTI, then why is it that only 12 petitions have been filed from Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan?

Interestingly, of the 65 petitions filed for the four provincial assemblies, 43% originate from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where PTI has secured an overwhelming majority. This raises the question: Why does Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a disproportionate share of both National Assembly and provincial assembly complaints?

To be certain, there has been a dramatic drop in electoral complaints from 2018 to 2024 – a 70% plummet. Question: Does it mark a genuine leap in electoral integrity? To be sure, social media has amplified a particular perspective, shaping perceptions of widespread rigging. The reality diverges significantly. Instead of perpetuating inflammatory online narratives, responsible journalism requires examining all sides of the issue.