GB election commissioner rejects forensic analysis of ballots in GBA-II
By Tanveer Ahmed
Gilgit (TP) November 23 2020: Chief Election Commissioner Gilgit-Baltistan Raja Shahbaz Khan while rejecting a forensic analysis of postal ballots in the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly-II (GBA-II) Gilgit-2 constituency has categorically rebuffed the allegations that his office was involved in disappearing the sealed envelope reportedly signed by all parties concerned for the scientific verification of votes by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
Talking exclusively to The Punch, Raja Shahbaz said that his office did not receive any sealed envelope — as being claimed by the Pakistan People’s Party — where all candidates had agreed to carry out the forensic analysis of postal ballots before announcing the GBA-II result.
He said that at today’s hearing of complaints, when he told the PPP candidate Jamil Ahmed and PPP GB President Amjad Advocate about not receiving of such an envelope by his office, they protested claiming that the agreement had been reached in the presence of the returning officer. He said that the PPP office-bearers only made hue and cry without providing any proof vis-à-vis such an agreement.
The GB election commissioner said that there was no provision in the election law where parties concerned could enter into an agreement with a returning officer about the forensic analysis of votes and that too without the prior approval of the election commissioner.
Raja Shahbaz said that if the PPP’s claims to have existed such an agreement about the forensic analysis of the postal ballots in GBA-II, they should prove it in the election tribunal, which is the competent forum for hearing such complaints.
Raja Shahbaz said that he has only received form 48 and 49 from the returning officer of the GBA-II constituencyand according to those forms, lection results were being compiled. He said that the election results of GBA-2 constituency will be announced in a day or two.
Talking to The Punch, PPP GB Secretary Information Said Danish said that all parties had had a written agreement, in the presence of the returning office, about the forensic analysis of postal ballots cast in GBA-II constituency and it had been agreed that the GBA-II results will not be announced unless the forensic verification of bogus votes.
She said that the GBA-II returning officer had told the parties concerned that he had issued 1,600 postal ballots and received 1,300 ballots, but at the time of recounting, a total of 1,708 postal ballot were there for counting, which proved bogus votes had been added somewhere else.
Said Danish alleged that the GB election commissioner was hand in glow with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in rigging the GBA election in general and the GBA-II constituency in particular.
She said that the GB election commissioner and federal minister Ali Amin Gandhapur were responsible for the law and order situation in Gilgit city. She alleged that the GB election commissioner was a stooge of the PTI government and he was responsible for rigging the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election. Said Danish said that the result of GBA-II will not be accepted unless the forensic analysis of the bogus votes was done.
Earlier, unidentified persons set on fire several vehicles and the secretary forest office in Gilgit city as Pakistan People’s Party workers took to the streets in protest against the alleged rigging in the GBA-2 constituency.
Unidentified miscreants torched a government vehicle at the Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts checkpoint near Chinar Bagh, while another government vehicle was set on fire on the main road in front of the Park Hotel.
After the vehicles and the secretary forest office was torched, police mobilized forces to bring the tense situation under control and resorted to shell the protesting PPP workers. Gilgit police alone struggled to bring the situation under control as no help was sent by the provincial government by sending paramilitary forces as reinforcement.
PPP workers, who burned bonfire at several places in Gilgit city and separately protests broke out in Chilas and Skardu against the alleged rigging in the recently held GBA elections 2020, earliedr converged outside the Chief Election Commissioner office after the news circulated that the file signed by all candidates for the forensic analysis of postal ballots had disappeared from the election commissioner office.
During the hearing of the election complaint about the GBA-2 constituency, PPP provincial president Amjad Hussain and the election commissioner exchanged heated argument after the latter told the former about not receiving any sealed envelope for forensic analysis of postal ballots in GBA-2. Soon after, the PPP workers took to the streets and blocked the River View, airport and other roads in protest.
DIG Crimes Waqas Hassan while talking to media said that a case has been registered against 20 unidentified persons for the arson. “They are being searched with the help of CCTV cameras,” he said.