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September 12, 2018

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ECP orders re-polling in 2 Balochistan constituencies

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday ordered re-polling at two polling stations in Balochistan's PB-41 (Washuk) constituency, where two presiding officers were allegedly abducted on the polling day and then forced to submit false results.

The matter of rare in nature was taken up by the ECP after a petition filed by a losing candidate of the Balochistan Awami Party, Mir Mujeebur Rehman Mohammad Hassani. He had drawn its attention to the fact that the results of polling stations number 44 and 45 in Washuk were missing from the final result of the PB-41 constituency. Hence, through the petition, he had sought inclusion/counting of cast votes of two polling stations No-44 and 45 (Pushku and Sarnaab polling stations).

The ECP has uploaded hand-written applications of the presiding officers: one of them alleges that at a polling station, where he was to conduct polling, none turned up for voting, yet he was forced to prepare a result of fake votes in favour of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal candidate.

The returning officer of PB-41, Washuk had informed the forum that two presiding officers were allegedly abducted by masked men on the election day and because of that the results of their polling stations were not included in the final count for PB-41. He quoted the two presiding officers as claiming that they had not compiled the results of their constituencies themselves and alleged that they were forced to submit the results compiled by their abductors.

When asked who had abducted them, Kamran Murtaza, the counsel of PB-41 seat winner belonging to the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, quoted the presiding officers as saying that they were allegedly abducted by security forces.

Polling station 44 presiding officer had earlier told the ECP that ‘several masked men came and took me with them and after several hours he was given the Form-45. The ECP had earlier reserved its decision on the results of the two polling stations.

Meanwhile, the ECP has made foolproof voting system for overseas Pakistanis for the by-elections to be held on October 14. The ECP spokesperson Nadeem Qasim told journalists here that an awareness programme was already under way for education of overseas Pakistanis on how to get registered and vote through I-voting.

He said those possessing the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistani, Machine Readable Passport and registered voters in any constituency were eligible for I-voting. He made it clear that this was a pilot project and a report would be submitted in the Parliament after its implementation.

The online registration of overseas Pakistan that started on September 01 will continue till September 15. Over 0.520 million overseas Pakistanis in 37 constituencies, wherein by-election is due, can take part in it for the first time.

However, so far they have shown limited interest in getting themselves registered for I-voting.

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