ISLAMABAD: Magisterial powers to security personnel, slowing down the voting process by allowing only 3-4 voters inside polling stations at a time, refusal to extend the polling time as voters kept waiting outside and free hand given to the proscribed militant organizations marked the polling day manipulation that will haunt the nation for a long time”.
This has been stated by secretary general of the PPPP former senator Farhatullah Babar in a statement after the ECP declined to extend the polling time by an hour.
He said that earlier in an environment of creeping coup, pre-poll manipulation was witnessed on an unprecedented scale by putting pressure on candidates to change loyalties, return their tickets and form alliances.
“Extremist organizations were brought in from nowhere to contest elections under new identities and nearly 200 Lashkar-e-Taiba activists entered the electoral fray. Tragically it was done just when Pakistan was placed on the watch list of the Financial Action Task Force.
The polls day manipulation has only made the 2018 elections more controversial in a process that was already set in motion with pre-poll manipulations, he said.
On the polling day over 350,000 army men were deployed both outside and inside polling stations armed not only with guns but also with magisterial powers.
What was achieved however was a phenomenal slowing down of the entry of voters into polling stations that must have left a large number of potential voters disenfranchised; he said and asked ‘was it done on purpose?’
It appears as if a deliberate effort is afoot to make the 2018 polls controversial, he said adding also “it will be most unfortunate if it indeed were so”. Seldom before such blatant, aggressive and unabashed attempts had been made to manipulate the outcome of elections and make them controversial, he said. INP