Daska by-election fiasco due to ‘weak’ admn, law-enforcers, hints ECP

Says results of NA-75 were unnecessarily delayed

By: News Desk      Published: 01:08 PM, 20 Feb, 2021
Daska by-election fiasco due to ‘weak’ admn, law-enforcers, hints ECP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday hinted at weaknesses of the administration and of the law-enforcement personnel which led to violence and irregularities in the NA-75 by-election Sialkot-IV (Daska) on Friday.

The ECP said that results of NA-75 by-election Sialkot-IV (Daska) were received after unnecessary delays and all its attempts to contact the presiding officers, in the meanwhile, were not successful, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

In a statement issued in Islamabad, the ECP said after receiving information from the district returning officer and the returning officer the chief election commissioner tried to contact the Punjab inspector general of police (IGP), commissioner and deputy commissioner but got no response.

According to the ECP statement, establishing contact with the Punjab chief secretary could be possible at 3.00 am, who assured the chief election commissioner of supplying the results after recovering the missing ECP officers and tracing the polling bags but after that, the chief secretary made himself unavailable.

The ECP statement said after much effort the presiding officer reappeared with polling bags at 6am Saturday morning. The district presiding officer and the presiding officer have informed that the results of 20 polling stations are suspected to be changed.

Therefore, the ECP said, it is not possible to issue the final unofficial result of the by-election without holding a thorough inquiry and the district returning officer is forwarding a detailed report to the ECP in this regard.

The Election Commission has also stopped the district returning officer and the returning officer from announcing the unofficial result of the NA-75 by-election, directing them to hold a thorough inquire and pinpoint the persons responsible for it.

The ECP also directed the provincial election commissioner and joint provincial election commissioner to rush to the offices of the district returning officer and the returning officer to dig deep and save the record completely.

The ECP said the issue appears to be depicting the weaknesses of the administration and of the law-enforcement institutions.

Staff goes missing

Returning Officer of NA-75 (Daska) Asif Hussain on Friday night said that staff of 14 polling stations went missing. Asif Hussain said that staff of 14 polling stations went missing. No telephonic contact was made with them, he added. He said that their mobile phones were off and they did not turn up until now.

PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Atta Tarrar, Uzma Bukhari and others reached the office of returning officer, fearing rigging was being done as staff of 14 polling stations disappeared. 

Earlier, two people got killed and scores injured in the firing and clashes between the rival parties in Daska. This also led to the suspension of the polling process at some polling stations as Rangers were deployed to control the situation.