FAFEN Urges Need For Greater Vigilance in By Election Administration

ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) observed the by-election for NWFP Assembly Seat PF-30 in Mardan in 88% of polling stations on February 23, 2009 and reiterates its recommendations to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding the need for greater vigilance in the administration of by-elections.

The PF-30 seat fell vacant after the death of Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Iftikhar Khan Shagai of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) who won the February 2008 general election. There are 113,936 registered voters in the constituency. Nine contestants for the by-election included the brother of the deceased MPA Imtiaz Khan Shagai, former MPA Maulana Taj-ul-Amin Jabal of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), former MNA Maulana Attaur Rahman, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Maulana Hafiz Hussain Ahmad of the JUIS, independent candidates include Haji Lataf Gul, Sar Biland Khan, Sultan Mohmand, Muhammad Ali and M. Nawab Alias Chunna.

According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PPPP candidate Imtiaz Khan Shagai won the seat by securing 12,455 votes. His closest rival was Maulana Taj-ul-Amin Jabal from the MMA who polled 8,627 votes. FAFEN deployed 22 trained, accredited and non-partisan observers to observe the byelection in PF-30. FAFEN observers visited 82 of 93 polling stations (88%) and recorded their observations on a standardized, objective checklist based on election rules and regulations following best practices for election observation.