NA-153 Multan VI: Lack of Transparency, Partisan Staff Witnessed in Otherwise Peaceful, Orderly By-election

ISLAMABAD, March 17, 2016: The by-election in NA-153 Multan-VI were held in an orderly and peaceful manner, however, issues of insufficient availability of critical election material and polling staff showing bias towards one candidate or party were some of the most common complaints received throughout the Election Day.

FAFEN trained and deployed 70 observers – 48 male and 22 female – in order to observe the opening, polling and closing processes on the Election Day.

FAFEN observers reported a total of 671 irregularities and illegalities from 213 observed polling stations in the constituency – averaging around 3.2 violations per polling station. More than one third of the reported violations were related to the availability of the critical election material with election staff such as officially marked stamps to seal each ballot box from all four sides, Ballot Account Forms and Statements of Count for polling agents of each contesting candidate.

The seat was originally won by PML-N’s Dewan Ashiq who polled 94,298 votes in GE-2013 while PPPP’s Rana Qasim Noon remained the runner-up bagging 88,593 votes. Rana Qasim later filed a petition against PML-N’s Dewan Ashiq for failing to disclose his actual assets and possessing a fake degree. The election tribunal ruled in favour of the petitioner, ordering a re-poll in the constituency, however, PML-N challenged tribunal’s decision in the apex court, which kept up the original decision and ordered re-election in NA-153 Jalalpur Pirwala, a tehsil of Multan.

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