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Muttahida wants international observers invited

Muttahida wants international observers invited

KARACHI: Expressing concerns over not inviting any of the local or international organisations to observe the NA-246 by-election, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement has demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan invite neutral observers, including the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen), to ensure transparency.

“When observers were invited in all past elections, why are they not being invited to monitor the NA-246 by-election,” questioned senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We demand that the election commission invite Fafen and other observer organisations to monitor transparency in the election process.”

Accompanied by candidate Kanwar Naveed Jameel and party leader Wasim Akhtar, he warned the ECP that the MQM would hold it equally responsible if “any institution tries to hinder the election process or reduce the votes of the MQM by mean tactics”.

Dr Sattar said that 753 polling booths were being set up in 350 rooms, fearing that it would slow down polling and deprive many people of their right to vote.

He said that it would be the responsibility of the ECP to ensure that the maximum number of people exercised their right to franchise during polling hours. “The ECP should ensure that polling is not slowed at any polling station.”

He said that his opponents had anticipated their defeat and were therefore levelling baseless allegations against the MQM.

The MQM leader asked the ECP and law enforcement agencies to investigate all allegations levelled by the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and lodge an FIR against those found responsible.

He said that the ECP had given special powers to the law enforcement agencies and install surveillance cameras on the wishes of the PTI and JI.

“So they [the ECP] should also ensure that no voter is deprived of his or her right to vote on any pretext.”

He said that the pillion-riding ban imposed in the city was unjust and would affect MQM voters.

He demanded that the pillion-riding ban be lifted.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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