The results of every election, if any, have always been made controversial. The losers never accept defeat with grace, but attributed their failure to manipulation by opponents.

The chairman of PTI, who pulled large crowds in his campaign in 2013, failed to translate those large rallies into votes only getting 33 seats of the National Assembly. With exception of KPK, the performance of his party was less than dismal at provincial level in the three provinces. He cried foul alleging mass rigging and reverted to protests and sit-ins, which continue to date in some form. Although Imran Khan and stalwarts of other parties seem to be under the illusion that 1970 polls were transparent.

However, reality is that all elections in Pakistan have always been marred with irregularities and manipulations at some level or form. There was mismanagement, irregularities, and possibly wrongdoings in the 1970 elections. For example, I could not cast my vote either in my village or at my temporary residence in Rawalpindi. This does not mean that my vote was not cast; it was only that I did not. I was told by the polling staff that my vote had been polled already cast by someone. The recent local body results on the one hand have added fuel to the fire ignited by the outcome of 2013 polls, but on the other hand have shown a similar pattern of results as National polls.

Though conducted by ECP, electoral process is actually at the mercy of staff hired to conduct the elections. The ROs and the higher staff of ECP have no direct control over the polling staff and rigging, mismanagement, or wrong doings occur at polling stations. This time staff from provincial governments was hired and they being human are not immune to weaknesses. The candidates or parties who enjoy influence in the area can maneuver and manipulate voters. However, the participating candidates must know that victory, defeat, or allegation of wrong doing and rigging in elections are part of the democratic process, which we have to follow. Hence the candidates should generally accept outcomes of elections and seek remedies envisioned in the constitution in case they don’t agree with the outcome instead of polluting the atmosphere across the country. As for chairman PTI, instead on crying foul every time and failing to prove rigging, should at least consider the possibility that maybe his party can lose.

The sooner PTI gets out of the illusion that the only outcome of election can be their win or it is rigging, would not only help them focus on their weaknesses and improve in future, but also give respite to the nation who are now sick of hearing same allegations for same outcomes in every election over and over again.

RAJA SHAFAATULLAH,

Islamabad, November 14.