All the actors, winners and losers, seem to be dissatisfied with results. The allegation of rigging and tempering of results are reciprocally traded between opposing forces. The claim of neutrality by the ECP stands exposed by the contentious decisions by some of the Returning Officers in some constituencies. The unofficial results announced by the presiding officers in the presence of polling agents, of respective candidates do not tally with those compiled by the Returning Officers. In other cases, presiding officers did not provide results to the polling agents at all and the next day, the ROs came up with surprises (unexpected) for some candidates.

Moreover, some reports suggest that a large number of votes were not cast by the original voters and in some cases unsigned ballot sheets were found. This coupled with hesitation of the ECP to do thumb verification, or ask candidates to pay for it, raises suspicions about the role of ROs and ECP. ECP published electoral lists with National ID card numbers and photos to prevent rigging. Why go to so much trouble when they could not stop it from happening anyway? Such discrepancies in the unofficial results announced by presiding officers and the consolidated results of all polling stations declared by ROs reflect some rottenness in the entire process.

Consequently, all parties have staged demonstrations, taken out rallies, and resorted to sit-in’s blaming the Election Commissioner and the interim government for failing to supervise free and fair elections. Since the ROs were judicial officers a strong perception is gaining ground that some of them were somewhat inclined toward PML-N, which came out victorious, against their own expectations. This perception ought to be dispelled by the ECP through transparent actions now rather than mere words or statements to save face.

RAJA SHAFAATULLAH,

Islamabad, May 24.