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July 30, 2018

Undue favour extended to one party to ensure its win, says Zubair


July 30, 2018

Formally announcing his resignation from the post of Sindh governor on Sunday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Mohammad Zubair said that he had serious reservations about how the general elections were conducted and claimed undue favours had been extended to one particular political party enabling it to win.

Addressing a press conference at the Governor House, Zubair said dozens of video clips had surfaced on social media showing the various irregularities in conducting the elections. Although cell phones were not allowed inside the polling stations, people showed courage and made such video clips and uploaded them on social media to highlight what happened, he said.

The outgoing governor said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was fully answerable for all such reported irregularities observed in the conduct of polls and it should provide ample explanation on all such issues.

‘Questionable conduct’

According to Zubair, the election results had been altered to favour one political party. He said that other concerned political parties and politicians had also expressed similar reservations over the elections and they had openly talked about the issue. He further said that a visibly selective approach was being adopted in entertaining applications for recount of votes by the losing candidates as in some cases such applications were being accepted while in others they were being rejected.

The ECP should accept the applications for vote recounts in cases of such constituencies where the margin of victory between the winning candidate and the runner-up was up to 5 per cent, said Zubair.

He added that polling agents of certain candidates had been expelled from the polling stations at the time of counting votes on the polling day, while it was also questionable how the Result Transmission System of ECP had crashed all of sudden as there could be a deliberate attempt to fail the system.

He said that the Election Commission was empowered to conduct the general elections in a free and fair manner, while the army was responsible to provide security for the polling process.

He added several days had passed since the July 25 polls but controversies related to counting of votes continued to linger on.

Speaking about media coverage, the PML-N leader said violence reported in Murree and Mansehra during the recount process was not reported. “The media in the country presently lacks independence and the situation is even more adverse than that prevailing during the days of past military dictatorship regimes,” he said.

According to Zubair, the pre-election environment for the PML-N had remained non-conducive as some of its leaders, including chief Nawaz Sharif, had been disqualified by courts while others were facing different cases. One PML-N candidate in Rawalpindi had been handed down punishment by a trial court in the dead of the night a few days before the general elections, which was unprecedented in the judicial history of the country, he said, referring to Hanif Abbasi, who was sentenced to life by an anti-narcotics court in the ephedrine quota case.

He claimed that earlier undemocratic means had been employed to bring in-house change in the previous Balochistan Assembly while similar tactics were used at the time of last Senate elections.

He added that opponents of PML-N previously had demanded re-opening of elections in four constituencies in the country but in the present scenario all things would become quite clear after opening up of only two constituencies in Karachi from where Farooq Sattar and Shahbaz Sharif had contested the elections. The constituency of Khawaja Saad Rafique should also be reopened for investigation of the polling in it, he said.

Tenure as governor

Zubair added that despite stepping down from the post of Sindh governor, he would neither leave the country nor leave the arena of politics.

He said he was proud of his clean tenure as during his stint as Sindh governor as he was not involved in a single instance of offering any admission or job on an unmeritorious basis.

He added his party was rightly credited with restoring peace in Karachi through a targeted operation by law-enforcement agencies, and said he was proud to be a part of the team which made efforts to maintain peace in Karachi and strived to bring in more foreign investment.

Zubair said he was thankful to Nawaz Sharif who had reposed confidence in him and assigned him the responsibility of governor.

“I have performed my responsibilities with the best of my abilities, with complete honesty and integrity as the Sindh governor and previously as chairman of the Board of Investment and the state minister for privatization,” he said.

He added that with a new elected government being installed in the country after the general elections, he lacked any moral authority as per the democratic traditions to continue as being the provincial governor. “For this reason, I am resigning from the post and have sent my resignation to the president, who will make the decision to accept it,” he said.

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