Unregistered Women Voters Dent Pashtun Representation in Karachi

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As general elections approach near, various political and religious parties have started their electoral activities in Pashtun-populated area of Karachi, a city that hosts largest urban Pashtun population that surpasses Peshawar, Quetta, Kabul and Kandahar.

 

Owing to different reasons, the Pashtun ethnic Awami National Party (ANP) in 2008 for the first time in history was able to book two seats in Sindh`s legislative forum. Its candidate, Amir Nawab Khan got elected from PS-93, the constituency comprising of Pashtun dominated areas in western city such as Banaras, frontier colony and other parts of SITE area while Amanullah Masood grabbed the seat PS-128 in Landhi’s Pashtun vicinities lying in the east of metropolis.

 

The same year, Akhter Hussain Jadoon, who hails from Swabi’s Gadoon area, got elected from Keemari (PS-89), southwest on Pakistan People Party’s seat. Previously, JUI-F’s Maulana Umar Sadiq, Maulana Ahsanullah Hazarvi, Maulana Hafiz Naeem, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Hameedullah Khan advocate, all four Pashto speaking had been elected to the provincial assembly in 2002. PML-N leader Irfanullah Khan Marwat had also been elected several times since late 80s from different groups.

 

Except the two ANP lawmakers, all members of provincial assembly had never been representatives of Pashtuns, rather it was religious background, political belonging and other factors which won them the confidence of voters.

 

However, professor Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, a well known commentator on political, ethnic groups and political history and culture of Karachi, witness all of them and those elected to different city councils totally failed in living up to the expectations of the Pashtun voters.

 

Why is Pashtuns’ representation not being proportional to their presence in the city? What are the causes? Will their representation ever increase? Will it translate into raising their standard of life? Will their part of city ever come as per with the developed and modern city inhibited by Urdu speaking people? “The future elections, especially the approaching ones will determine the direction of their political future” says Irfanullah Khan Marwat.

 

Whether disproportional?

 

According to 1998 census the Pashtun population was recorded as merely 14 percent of 9.5 million total city populations. “Lack of Pashtun professionals among the staff carrying out the census job provided the city’s powerful group with an opportunity to maneuver the census” blames Abdul Ali Ghorghashti, information secretary of Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) Sindh, who believes the number is much higher than the one recoded in census.

Most of the Pashtuns believe their actual number has reached to 5 millions in the city of 20 million now. Marwat’s views must be called exaggerated when he believes the population of Pashtun in Karachi is well over 6.5 million.

 

Zia Ur Rehman, a political analyst, who recently pinned down “Karachi in turmoil”, an account of violence and militancy in the city, said if the figures of 1998 census are correct even then the population has increased manifold during the last 15 years.

 

Besides a high birth ratio among Pashtuns, the demography changed as new Pashtun migrants arrived from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Tribal Areas in the 2000s, particularly because of the 2005 earthquake and counter-insurgency operations from 2007 to 2011, said Rehman.

 

“Whatever the exact population may be, the population true representation has never been ensured in the city’s elected forums” said Subhan Ali Sahil, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, who had been part of various Pashtun political forums in the city before he joined PTI and became its Karachi President.

 

Disturbed votes; External factor

 

Citing the erroneous and prejudiced limitations of constituencies as one of the main causes of low and disproportional Pashtun’s representation in the Sindh Assembly, Ghorghashti informs that from Bangash colony to Nusrat Bhutto colony the long strip has dozens of Pashtun localities including Paposh Nagar, Dir colony, Pirabad, Ships owners, Khwaja Ajmeer Nagri, Qasba and Pashtunabad etc making it a single Pashtun unit but the area has been divided among three provincial assembly seats PS-101, PS-102 and PS-103.

 

“Resultantly on all three provincial seats the Pashtun candidate has to see the face of failure but this is not confined to this area alone”, he told and adding that Faqirabad colony, a single Pashtun locality has been divided among four provincial constituencies.

 

Shah Jahan, divisional secretary coordination of ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), endorses Ghorghashti’s views and adds that a single National Assembly seat could be created of PS-128 and PS-129 or PS-129 and PS-130 in the Landhi industrial area but on the contrary each PS has been divided among two to three NAs.

 

“For instance two Union Councils of PS-128 have been included in NA-255 and half UC has been made part of NA-257 while 1.5 UCs have been inducted to NA-258”, told Jahan.

 

“In 2002, MQM grabbed the majority of PA seats with total of six hundred thousands votes but due to incorrect delimitation the remaining parties including MMA and PPP could win just 6 seats with nine hundred thousands votes” told Bashir Jan, provincial secretary general of ANP, adding that all this indicates discrepancy in the system devised to benefit some and deprive others.

 

If the biased limitation of constituency was not enough to undermine the Pashtun political rank, their votes were transferred on permanent address, observe Abdul Razaq, a former UC Nazim who had defeated joint MQM-ANP candidate in the last local body elections. “Pashtun votes were kicked out of the city with a clear aim” further told Razaq who will contest for PS-93 on Jamaat-e-Islami seat.

 

Lack of registration; Mix Factor

 

“The Pashtun have tried to get themselves registered for vote nor has the staff bear pain to approach them” believes Razaq who also confesses the former, self laziness of the voters is big fault than the authorities who work at the directions from forces unwilling to see this part of the city to have any role in the city or provincial affairs.

 

“The Sindh’s Pashtun were not politically active a decade ago, the fact which was easily manipulated by MQM in its favor including non-registration and wrong limitations” opined Bashir Jan.

 

“The Pashtun population has increased manifold but no registration has been made. With the city population almost doubled in 10 to 15 years, the Pashtun population has never been declared increased”, complains Jahan.

 

However, Gul Faraz Khattak, a Pashtun member of Rabita committee of MQM, rubbishes all allegations that MQM has to do anything with undermining Pashtuns’ or ANP’s representation.

 

Khattak said that MQM had awarded ticket to a Pashtun, Sardar Khan on PS-128, who got 24000 votes. It’s not any prejudice towards any ethnic group including Pashtun but the strict criteria and merit that resulted in comparatively low number of ticket, he said.

 

Important question that arises is that what the representatives, who won the seats in the name of Pashtun, did for their people? He asked.

 

No to 50 Percent; International Factor

 

A probable PPP candidate for PS-128, Shah Jahan also emphasizes on self-assessment. “We ourselves have deprived us of 50 percent of the votes by barring female voters from casting their votes while in Urdu speaking areas the ratio is very high” told Jahan.

 

“If in some areas they are not discouraged, equally no effort has ever been seen to encourage them to come out houses for polling their precious vote” he goes on to say.

 

Divided votes;

 

“Parties having Pashtun representations remained in conflict and compete with each others”, said Qari Usman, president JUI-F Karachi, the party taking credit of electing more number of Pashtun lawmakers than any other party in the city could do.

 

Further digging out this division pointed by Usman, Jahan adds “but it is not only the parties contesting against each others, almost every sub-community of the Pashtun has an independent candidate, no matter he wins or loose”.

 

Low Turn out

 

Low turn out is another cause that results in low representation of Pashtuns in the provincial and federal legislative bodies.

 

“This has negative repercussions on the already under represented community, for instance, PS-129 contains three Pashtun dominated UCs of Muzaffarabad colony, cattle colony and Quaidabad but the ticket is awarded to a Sindhi having vote bank in one and half UC” observes Shah Jahan, informing that a Sindhi get the ticket because his one and half UC bring more turn out than the three UCs collective can.

 

Rigging

 

Rigging may be given less credence here as it’s not confined to Karachi only however two political parties JI and ANP are sure that unfair game is also one of the basic causes.

 

“ANP candidate could not win the NA-241 with 46000 votes which MMA’s candidate Laiq Khan had won in 2002 with 26000 votes by defeating a MQM candidate” said ANP Sindh General Secretary while casting doubts at the electoral process.

 

JI Abdul Razaq also questions the results which he blames are manipulated. “The NA-241 is comprised of two provincial seats, PS-93 and PS-94. The PS-93 has five UCs, inhibited by Pashtun populace.  But what determines the result of the whole NA are three UCs of PS-94 that falls in Orangi” told Razaq while insisting that the results are stolen by the strong group.

 

Future Course

 

“A million dollar question is that can the situation in term of Pashtun representation improve? I say yes but by uniting all anti-MQM forces in the city to trench a way-out in form of an electoral alliance” maintained Marwat, saying his party chief Nawaz Sharif has mandated him to hold talks with PTI.

 

Whether ANP would also be part of the possible alliance? “Definitely! Talks would be held with all parties for one to one contest with MQM in Karachi especially the Pashtun dominated areas” replied Marwat.

 

ANP’s Bashir Jan, whose party claims having being elected on 100 percent seats it had contested in 2008 elections, said his party can give concessions and leave the winning seats for securing the alliance but he is cynical that any such alliance would emerged.

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JUI-F Karachi president is also in favor of alliance with ANP but he has no trust in the party which, he blames of breaching the alliance during 2008 elections.

 

“Under agreement JUI voted for ANP’s Ameer Nawab Khan but ANP pulled back in other constituencies and instead voted in favor of PPP candidate under another agreement it had with the later”, said Usman.

 

JI and PTI though are in favor of alliance, they are least interested in making alliance with ANP. “The ANP has not only won because we boycotted, the ethnic tension also had helped it secure two seats” opined Razaq and accusing ANP of bringing bad name to the Karachi Pashtuns.

 

“Extortion which used to be an attribute of posh areas is now being introduced by ANP in the Pashtun areas of the city”, he goes on to say.

 

PTI Subhan Ali Sahil who has many old comrades in the party recalls how the peace of Pashtun was disturbed by the party which rather giving guns should have established hospitals in all Pashtun vicinities.

 

Bashir Jan, however, utterly refutes the allegations. “Some years back ANP was party of the poor only but now transporters, businessmen and Pashtoon in every walk of life have joined ANP for securing their future”, he claimed.

 

Being non-ethnic political entities, PTI, PML-N and JI will also grab the votes of other ethnic communities including Urdu speaking community which otherwise is considered a MQM vote bank.

 

The voters’ trends will remain toward the party that will emancipate them from the menace of extortion and targeted killings, said Sahil and adding that the PTI through its electoral campaign has tried to dispel the impression of ethnic tussle propagated by ANP.

 

Probabilities

 

“If the correct delimitation process is carried out, upto 12 PS and 6 NA seats can be won by Pashtun candidates of either parties among ANP, JI, JUI-F, PPP and others” said Ghorghashti.

 

However, between all these ifs and buts the probabilities of increase in the political representation seems to be unattainable idea. The probable tough contest on PS- 89, 90, 91, 92 and 93, 112, 114, 128 and 129 will decide whether the disproportional representation will witness any balance or not but a new addition is expected on PS-89 to the already diversified list of contenders.

 

Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui, the Karachi president of ASWJ, an offshoot of defunct Sepah-e-Sahaba is all set to contest for Provincial Assembly from PS-128. Although he is considered a strong contender, his emergence on the electoral scene will certainly deprive JUI-F of majority of votes in the constituency.

 

Professor Tauseef Ahmed who sees the Pashtun areas as the areas of deprived and poor class said functioning of system and continuous elections without any break will change the political face of the area.

 

“With elections, the people of the area will reject those bringing lawlessness, killings and extortion and accept those bring development and prosperity to their area”, he said.

 

This is the unedited version of story on Pashtun’s political representation in Karachi, published in the Frontier Post’s Weekend Post on 24th February 2013.

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ANP faces threats in Karachi; Taliban compel ANP workers to Change loyalty, force closure of offices

 

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Naimat Khan(Afkar Affairs Exclusive)

 

KARACHI: Terming the unabated attacks on the houses and trade centers of Awami National Party’s (ANP) workers and party offices in the metropolis a very dismal state of affairs, the ANP Sindh has alleged certain political forces were doing the job in the name of an outlaw organization.

A statement issued here from Bacha Khan Markaz, Karachi on Friday further said the activists of outlaw organization were threatening ANP workers and leaders to leave their party and join a pro-terrorist party in the city.

The spokesman who did not name the political party and outlaw organization that was forcing the closure of party offices in the metropolis said “in some areas the persons claiming to be the activists of an outlaw organization are giving serious threats to the party leaders and workers, advising them to change their political loyalties”.

An ANP leader, however, on the condition of anonymity told The Frontier Post that by outlaw organization the party meant Taliban who were forcing the party to close its political business in the city.

It is pertinent to mention that several ANP leaders and workers including its Sindh General Secretary, Bashir Jan had been attacked by Taliban in the recent past. Mr. Jan has escaped two assassination attempts by the militant organization.

The party statement has, however, mentioned the most recent attack only. It says the party’s local leader Madeen Shah Afridi was attacked in Ittehad Town of Karachi twice during the last couple of days.

“Either the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are helpless or the terrorists are being patronized by very powerful forces” the spokesperson said who showed serious concerns over the closure of dozens of ANP offices “in the era of independent judiciary, free media and a democratically elected government”.

“It is very strange that for the first time in the country’s history the political workers are threatened to leave their party” he said, adding that if it was not enough they are also asked to join the parties supporting the militant organization.

“Why are we only being targeted?” asked the spokesperson, saying despite repeatedly reporting the incidents to police and officials of other law enforcement agencies and lodging complaints and  FIRs, the terrorists were freely roaming on the streets of the city.

The ANP spokesperson alleged that the hidden forces were considering ANP a threat to their evil designs. “The unabated attacks on our offices and leader do not seem to be stopped anywhere” he said, saying the threats couldn’t undermine the determination of its worker to fight for the rights of Pashtuns rather such acts give them further boasts.

Taliban in Karachi: Exaggerated number yet miscalculated threat

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Naimat Khan

Security agencies’ Inability to coup with threat & misinformation and disagreements among the anti-Taliban forces are extra weapons of perilous TTP

KARACHI: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has now declared a war on ANP, MQM and other forces which, it says, come in their way to impose an “Islamic political system”. The TTP spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan was quoted as saying Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) are their prime targets. He said targeted war had been waged against the two in the city.

It was the recent shooting of MQM lawmaker-Manzar Imam, who was killed in Orangi last month- that brought two arch rivals closer, and thus bringing the issue of Taliban’s growing influence in the city to limelight. “We (The ANP and the MQM) are political rivals, but we stand united against extremism and terrorism”, said ANP leader Basheer Jan, who himself had survived two assassination attempts in Karachi, during the funeral prayers of Imam.

Previously, there was much hullabaloo from their prime target, ANP but the voice gained strength when another secular and ethnic party found a place at Taliban hit list following Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issued a warning to target MQM after the later announced to hold a nationwide referendum asking people whether they wanted Quaid’s Pakistan or Taliban’s Pakistan. MQM’s referendum scheduled for 14 November 2012 was later postponed in respect for the upcoming Moharram-ul-Harram.

A well known analyst, Dr Rashid Ahmad Khan while representing the other view point wrote a piece in an English daily, stating that by holding the Taliban responsible for the worsening law and order situation in Karachi, the ruling parties were in fact hiding their failure to capture criminals.

One may disagree as who share most of the responsibility of the present lawlessness in the city- political parties and other local criminal elements or the infiltrated Taliban militants-the threat of Taliban can be seen looming over the city. Especially, when Taliban themselves declare it a battleground for attacking two parties, including MQM, the largest political entity of the city and second largest in the province.

Numbers and Threat:

Although, the presence of Taliban in the city can hardly be denied by anyone, their existence in term of physical strength had always been exaggerated, told a Karachi based security and terrorism expert AW Khan who claimed to have visited each and every street of the areas deemed as Taliban’s strongholds in the metropolis.

“There are around 1400 streets in SITE town alone, each with at least on criminal, all posing themselves as Taliban but the real Taliban are no more than 120”, he confidently stated, saying hundreds of groups comprising three to six criminals were carrying out activities in the name of Taliban. He, however, is affirmative that the presence of highly committed Jihadis, always ready to lend their lives for blowing many others, is not a minor threat to the security and peace of the city.

A high rank security official in Karachi, although, doesn’t agree with A.W. Khan, he also does not subscribe to the idea that 5000 Taliban militants have infiltrated into the city.

‘There are differences of opinion viz-a-viz Taliban number but one of the facts compelling all to forge a consensus is that the Taliban militants have overtaken the reign of terror previously held by militants with different identities, e.g. political, ethnic, sectarian and criminal. The Taliban nexus with Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the city intensifies the threat’, said source.

Signs of presence:

This scribe observed during days’ long visits of these areas that all CD shops and beauty salons were open while the life was in full swing in the areas dubbed as safe havens for Taliban. The only thing missing was the Red flags and ANP offices. But the ANP leader insisted the ANP flags had been full down long ago as a good gesture to normalize the charged atmosphere following ethnic tension in the city.

Further drawing a line between the real Taliban and fake Taliban, the security analyst AW Khan said that Taliban abduction for ransom had always been well calculated while the fake Taliban would kidnap every person making irrational demands.

Taliban were said to be involved in extortion, the only business flourishing in the city, but a Taliban militant, while talking to The Frontier Post refuted this and said they, instead, had been stopping the illegal business. “We distributed handwritten pamphlets with phone numbers for contact if somebody demands extortion money. A few people registered their complaints and we asked them to call the extortionists for collecting the money so that we may teach them the lesson”, he told and added that sensing Taliban’s involvement in the issue, the extortionists didn’t turn up.

Taliban had enormous presence in the city. He informed that after a merger between Hakimullah Mahsood, a hardliner and Waliur Rehman group which tried to avoid targeting Pakistani state, the Tehrik had gained momentum, claimed the Taliban militant who himself had joined the group a few month ago. He said, “Before joining Taliban, I was working in Jaish-e-Muhammad that I had joined in 2005”.

During interaction with Taliban militants, it emerged that the TTP didn’t intend to launch large scale terrorist activities instead the lethal group had prioritized targeted actions against ANP and MQM, both at the top of the hit list in Karachi.

Bashir Jan who gave 80 percent credit of crimes and lawlessness in the city to Taliban also accepted that many professional criminals had branded themselves Taliban for committing crimes.

He said there was clash between ANP, MQM, Sunni Tehreek and sectarian groups but it were Taliban who raised lawlessness to the present alarming level.

“There are no Taliban courts and no Taliban processions but Taliban are present”, said Jan and added that “Rehman Malik says there are no Taliban. Suppose he is right but he cannot deny the presence of terrorists in Karachi. We demand military operation against the terrorists whether Taliban or otherwise.”

He said the guns and murdering people had become a hobby of those private Jihadis recruited, trained and armed by our establishment. “They deem Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a way to Jannah. The terrorist is a terrorist, no matter he has beard or he wears pant”, he added.

Problem areas:

It is believed and reported that the Taliban militants are hiding in the Pashtoon dominated areas like Manghopir, Bhangi Para, PMR, Sultan Abad, Pakhtunabad, Kunwari colony, Mian Wali colony and Nusrat Bhutto colony of the central districts and Gadap, Sohrab Goth, Jhanjal Goth and Afghan Basti in district east. But Bashir Jan doesn’t fully agree with the claim.

“All top leadership of the TTP and its associate militant groups are Punjabis residing in the posh vicinities of the city including Gulshan-e-Iqbal”, Mr. Jan claimed, arguing since they held their meetings and did planning in the posh areas, they had chosen the slum areas, mostly Pashtoon dominated for operational activities.

Mr. Khan, a security and terrorism expert also endorses the view of Mr. Jan saying Taliban were not totally a Pashtoon problem. PPP Senator Taj Haider goes a step further and blames PML-N, especially CM Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif for allowing Taliban, to which he refers as Punjabi Taliban and their associate sectarian groups to make sanctuaries in Punjab.

“The most important question is from where do they come? Where are their sanctuaries and safe heavens? Both PML-N and Taliban are the remnants of Ziaism. He said Taliban are presently persuading a three steps line of action, “come, hit and leave” the city.

Media and Taliban:

 The media is blamed for glorifying Taliban and militancy but on the other hand the Taliban militants are ungrateful to media for what they call “misreporting the events and propaganda against TTP”. “They never point towards the killers in Liaquatabad and Gulistan-e-Jauhar where political parties are killing the people”, told a Taliban militant, adding, when explosive was found in a house inhabited by a Taliban militant, Sher Khan, media created an “explosive manufacturing factory” of it.

 

Threat weighed officially:

 SSP CID Chaudhry Aslam khan sees the TTP a great threat to the peace of Karachi in particular and stability of Pakistan in general. “They want to create chaos in order to capture the power for imposing their brand of Islam”. He said it is dreadfully perilous than any criminal and terror group operating in Karachi.

Eliminating Taliban:

 A security official in the city known for his daring handling of the local terrorists confirmed with the condition of not to be named that it was difficult, rather impossible to eliminate Taliban militants from the city.

“It is expected that the people making the world lone Super Power and its allies on run, will be defeated by the law enforcement agencies meant for maintaining law and order and not fighting wars”, he argued while rejecting the views of eliminating the menace with sheer force.

He said the TTP Karachi chapter has been divided into many small groups comprising 3 to 5 militants. “If we nab a militant, he doesn’t give us any clue to go after the high ranks due to his lack of knowledge about his own group”, he maintained.

Insisting that military operation is the only solution, the ANP Sindh leader Bashir Jan holds the constitution even allows a deputy commissioner to call in army in his district. The administration has not only failed but has become nonsensical. “The military operation and deweaponization is the only solution to the issue”, said Jan.

After the murder of its member Sindh Assembly, the MQM, while demanding the state machinery to mobilize to bring the culprits to book said, “We want to tell the terrorist that they cannot deter the MQM and its activists”.

Security apparatus, MQM and ANP, all three are divided as to how to deal with Taliban. On the other hand, Taliban groups have recently joined hands. In such a situation, to defeat the most dangerous Jihadi force in city would be nothing more than just a dream.

Publish on February 5, 2013

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/205755/

 

New army of Sindh lawmakers suggested

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Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Citing the malfunction of state machinery to curb crimes and terrorism in the province, especially the port city, a member of provincial assembly, Sindh put forth a strange suggestion of raising new army for controlling the situation.
The idea came forth from the PML-F member provincial assembly (MPA) Rana Abdul Sattar who said “for building the proposed army, each lawmaker would donate 500 armed men while the well-off like Nadir Magsi would provide one thousand soldiers for constituting the army”.
The 40th session of Sindh Assembly was held on Monday with Acting Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza in chair. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah was also present.
Discussing the worsening law and order situation in Karachi, the PML-F MPA opined that the government had failed to eradicate the menace of terrorism. “The army will assist the CM Sindh and Sindh government to eliminate terrorism from the province”.
He said innocent people had been killed on daily basis but the government was completely helpless. “We are public representatives and the people ask us as why are we unable to curb the menace of terrorism and protect their lives”.
During the assembly proceeding, both members of treasury and opposition benches expressed deep disquiet over the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.
Stressing stern action against criminals, the PPP MPA, Humaira Alvani said, ‘every time she comes out of home, she feels herself extremely insecure. Being a mother I remain worried about the safety of my kids when they leave for school’.
Provincial Minister Nadir Magsi said the terrorists wanted to derail democratic regime but were badly failed in their evil designs. MQM legislator, Saifullah Khalid, said 50 leaders and workers of his party had been killed in Orangi town alone.
The PML-F MPA, Nusrat Sahar Abbasi said that 6000 people had lost their lives in targeted killings in last five years in Karachi. She said if the government failed to restore peace, the assembly floor would become a place only to offer ‘fateha’ for the deceased.

Published on February 5, 2013

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/205730/

PPP rejects Door to Door verification

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: At a time when the Elections Commission tried to make the verification process acceptable for all political parties by assuring the induction of army, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has rejected the process which it says “is not only unnecessary, but will further corrupt voter lists”.

The party has, instead, suggested shifting votes on present addresses through data of national identity cards prepared by NADRA which the party considers “a reliable and verifiable data”.

A letter (dated 28th January 2013) to the Deputy Director (Elec-II) Election Commission of Pakistan by the General Secretary PPP Sindh in continuation to the earlier correspondence between the two, blames “hardly any houses have been visited and verifying staff has fraudulently filled verification forms and affixed fake signatures/thumb impressions on the forms”.

“Door-to-Door verification exercise which has already corrupted this data should be declared null and void and should not be repeated,” it added.

It is advised to the ECP to randomly scrutinize the thumb impressions by NADRA, saying it “can bring out the fact that most of the thumb impressions do not belong to the voters but to other persons including verifiers”.

The good intention of the ECP that voters should be enabled to vote within 2 kms of their residence cannot be materialized, if the voters’ lists are prepared on the basis of “permanent” and not on basis of “present address”, the letter reads. “Large number of voters who have migrated to large cities for economic reasons would stand practically disenfranchised if the lists remained on permanent address basis”, it added.

“Pakistan People’s Party Sindh feels that a lot of confusion and hassle can be set aside if the proposal agreed to by political parties (except one or two parties) is adopted by the Election Commission”, the letter said.

The party General Secretary, Taj Haider, in his letter has also blamed the ECP bureaucracy for sabotaging the efforts of Chief Election Commissioner and members of the commission.

“The CEC started a very positive trend of consulting political parties which had built confidence and created a very congenial atmosphere,” he opined and added, “Those who had expressed full confidence in the CEC and members of the commission and were welcomed for productive exchange of ideas inside the Election Commission are sitting in protest sit-in outside the Election Commission office”.

“We do understand that officials who have been instrumental in rigging the elections time and again find it very difficult to adjust to the participatory approach adopted by the CEC and members of the commission”, he added.

Published on February 1, 2013

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/205118/