LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif has expressed reservations over the polling process, saying his party does not accept the preliminary results shared by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
“I am forced to say that we completely reject these results,” he said on late Wednesday while addressing a press conference in Lahore, alleging that there has been a “blatant violation of public’s mandate”.
He complained that the Form-45 was not shared with the agents of PML-N in many constituencies.
“There were long queues today despite the extremely hot weather. But when the polling ended, I saw a very scary situation,” he said.
“By 7 p.m., when results started to pour in, no result was announced from constituencies in Lahore. We received complaints from across the country that polling agents are not given Form-45 and are being expelled from the polling stations,” he alleged.
Earlier, PML-N’s Marriyum Aurangzeb and Mussadiq Malik both alleged that the party’s polling agents had been forced out of polling stations in various constituencies where counting is underway.
“We have serious reservations… The counting process has been carried out behind closed doors and our polling agents have been taken out,” Aurangzeb alleged, adding that changes are also being made to Form-45.
“Results of both the (provincial and national) assemblies have been withheld, we want an answer for that. What change are they going to bring behind closed doors?” she questioned.
The PML-N’s allegations were echoed by other parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party, which could become a kingmaker in a coalition government. PPP’s Raza Rabbani and Sherry Rehman also addressed a press conference to express their concerns over the situation.
Rabbani said: “Throwing out polling agents is a serious issue with serious repercussions. Polling agents are being thrown out in Badin, and results are being withheld in PS-66 Hyderabad.”
Rabbani called for the ECP to address the complaints made and asked for Form-45 to be handed over to winning candidates.
“We said this earlier too, that if the will of the people is manipulated this way, there will be serious consequences,” he added.
Sherry Rehman claimed, “There has been a clear trend of interference, in which all parties except one are being pushed to the wall.”
In response, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh said that all polling agents had been providing Form-45 to polling agents. The form contains the final vote tally at each polling station.
Yaqoob asked all parties to approach the commission with specific complaints against ROs as well as the polling stations where irregularities are allegedly occurring.
He said that the only information he had received so far is that polling agents whose parties are not performing well are leaving the stations without taking the forms, and then saying they have not received them.
He said that in case any proof is brought forward, action will be taken against all individuals found involved.
The provincial election commissioner in Punjab categorically denied the allegations levelled by the PML-N.
“Political leaders should refrain from leveling such baseless allegations without having any substantial proof,” the ECP official said.
Explaining the process, the election commissioner clarified that only one polling agent of every party is allowed inside the polling station at the time of counting of votes.