The recently held by-elections in the country were no different than the general elections of May 11, 2013, all the paraphernalia used was the same! The electoral rolls were the same and the polling staff appointed was also from the same source, those who could be easily influenced by the contesting candidates or the ruling party. The deployment of army or rangers does not matter as they ensure only peace during the polling process. They do no know who is casting the vote or who is stuffing the ballot boxes with bogus votes.

The turnout of voters during the bye-elections was very low as reported by media, so if at any polling station the turnout was less than 50 percent of the registered voters the election results are not a true representation of the candidate and the Election Commission should then declare it null and void. The election should be re-held there to get the true results.

Another observation of the bye-election held on Aug 22 is that some political parties after vacating their seat had put up a proxy candidate and people of that constituency, without knowing the candidate, polled their votes to the party symbol. This should be taken notice of by the Election Commission. During the notorious March 1977 rigged elections when the PPP swept the polls, someone rightly said at that time that even a donkey would have won a seat if it had a symbol of the ‘Sword’ which was PPP symbol at that time. I hope the Election Commission would make note of these flaws and make due amendments in the election rules.

MUHAMMAD AZHAR KHWAJA,

Lahore, August 23.