The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that opposition parties, including PTI, have failed to provide any evidence regarding “systematic and planned rigging” in the 2013 general elections and declared that the results of the polls were a “true reflection” of the people’s mandate. In a 33-page response submitted to the poll inquiry commission headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, the claim made was that these elections were not manipulated or influenced pursuant to a systematic effort or design by anyone, where no such evidence with respect to wrongdoing has emerged as of yet.

What is ambivalent on the ECP’s part, yet one that has become mundane for everyone else accusing them of rigging, is even though they have grandiosely declared themselves free from all blame, they still have mentioned how there were some lapses, primarily by nearly 70,000 presiding officers (POs) in the filling out and placement of Form XV and by the POs or the returning officers (ROs) in the sealing of polling bags’. Do the above mentioned breaks in the system, not justify as being conclusive to rigging, or is the ECP that sure that the public is blatantly ignorant?

Another ludicrous claim that they made was regarding fake ballots where for them. The fact that thumb impressions on a substantial number of counterfoils and electoral rolls cannot be verified by Nadra, does not amount to evidence that fake voters cast ballots or that unused extra ballots were stuffed into ballot boxes or the polling bags. One can say that this not only shows a lapse of judgment on the part of the ECP, but also makes one wary of who is actually pulling their strings to make sure they keep on denying each and every evidence that comes forward.

The Human Rights Commission said in its preliminary report that the May 11 elections had been rated by a majority of its observers as ‘the most poorly managed affair’ where they observed that the situation in Karachi was so worrisome that ‘it was not clear if the results reflected the free will of voters’. With citizens filling the social media space with video evidence of rigging, particularly in Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore, with clearly marked data on the place and timing of rigging incidents, how can the ECP be so sure that all opposing parties and the general population has been mistaken? It is only a shock to hear the chief election commissioner, and then the commission’s secretary, to congratulate the nation on the ‘successful holding of transparent elections’ and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. These messages coming from the commission are adding to the confusion and frustration of the voter, where these elections saw an immense public awareness of rights and duties as citizens, and the vote was generally accepted as the only viable means for a genuine change.