ECP prepares election 2013 fact sheet

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has prepared the fact sheet of the 2013 general elections which rejects all allegations regarding rigging.

According to sources the fact sheet states that both local and international observers identified some irregularities and problems but declared the elections transparent. US President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and other world leaders also congratulated Pakistan on holding these elections.

The fact sheet dismisses the allegation of ballot papers being printed from additional and private printing presses. 180 million ballot papers were printed. 112.5 million ballot papers were printed by the Printing Corporation and 67.5 million by Security Printing Corporation. There is a record of how many ballot papers were sent to which constituency which can be presented at any forum.

The allegation of ballot papers being printed for five districts from Urdu Bazaar in Lahore on 9 May, 2013 was also dismissed with the fact sheet stating that the distribution process in these districts had been completed by this date. The fact sheet acknowledges that there were some delays in the printing of ballot papers due to a lack of time and human resource.

On the allegation of Returning Officers (ROs) being biased, the fact sheet states the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and other parties had demanded the judiciary for ROs. It was on their demand that the Chief Justice was requested for the deployment of ROs.

Responding to allegations over the scrutiny process, the fact sheet said the ECP formed a computerized scrutiny cell comprising State Bank, NADRA, NAB and FBR which is why a change in election results was not possible.

The fact sheet rejects the allegation of magnetic ink not being used properly stating that NADRA proposed its use and provided samples. The use of magnetic ink was not a legal requirement; rather it was used for voter identification as per the administrations requirement.

The ECP responded to allegation of the result management system not being used properly by stating that results from some remote areas were received late due to the use of this system and lack of skilled personnel. The replacement of this was a computersied system through which all election results were received.

The fact sheet also calls on the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) to provide details of election result forms 14 and 15 not being present at some constituencies so the issue can be probed.

The ECP also responded to allegations of delays in the work of election tribunals. It said the ECP was responsible for the formation of these tribunals and 14 had been setup. Out of 405 complaints, 329 had been disposed while 76 remained.

In response to the allegation of why the election review report was published nine months after being prepared, the fact sheet states the report was prepared in December 2013. In its light the new strategic plan and election reforms law document was prepared. Following this all these documents were released together.

The fact sheet will be presented to the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms committee on September 29.