Raising hue and cry that the elections have been rigged has been the norm of the defeated parties in Pakistan, while the winning parties have invariably tried to laugh away the charge; this time, it has been no different. The PTI has been in the forefront staging protest demonstrations and sit-ins on the country thoroughfares, blocking traffic and putting the commuters to inconvenience. One wonders why the sane course of approaching, step by step, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the judiciary is never thought of. Nevertheless, the ECP has decided to go in for a recounting at one of the constituencies that the PTI has complained about and the PTI has partially called off the protests, though its demands for recounting was for as many as 25 seats. The polling at the NA 250 in Karachi has been declared null and void by the ECP and a re-election at its 43 polling stations scheduled for May 19. The ECP has constituted 14 tribunals to hear the aggrieved parties and candidates and, in an attempt that the cases do not linger on indefinitely, enjoined upon them to dispose of all the complaints within a maximum of 120 days. Many have already responded by taking their grouses to the ECP that has, in turn, warned all those who have committed irregularities, of serious consequences.

However, none observing the electoral scene, whether local or foreign, considers that the cheating has been widespread or massive. All of them are of the firm opinion that by and large the elections have been free from taint. That view is shared by the ECP, the EU observer team, foreign and local media, most of the political analysts and parties. The ECP is quite certain that in 90 percent of the cases there has not been any inconsistency. Agreeing to the same percentage, the EU feels that irregularities have occurred in Sindh, the election campaign remained restricted due to the fear of terror attacks, but the people’s confidence in the ECP grew as a result of the elections. They made a special mention of the fact that the authorities did not prevent their observers from going anywhere to monitor the polls. Mian Shahbaz Sharif has, perhaps, rightly said that the people have rejected the rigging charge.

There has been silver lining as well. Rivals (Zardari, for instance) have come forward, offered congratulations to Mian Nawaz and gracefully accepted defeat. Mian Nawaz has shown large-heartedness and acknowledged the PTI’s right as the largest winning party in KPK to be the first to attempt at forming the government. The people earnestly hope that the sooner the bickering stop the better and the governing leadership take up the most important task of national reconstruction.