Pakistan News

PTI seeks printing of ballot papers outside Karachi

PTI seeks printing of ballot papers outside Karachi

KARACHI: Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday demanded printing of ballot papers for NA-246 by-election in a printing press outside Karachi, claiming that the Printing Corporation of Pakistan facility in Karachi had a majority of employees associated with a political party.

Addressing a press conference at the party office, senior PTI leader Dr Arif Alvi said his party had serious reservations and concerns over the printing process of the NA-246 ballot papers and such reservations had already been conveyed to the authorities concerned. “There are many ways to rig elections and this could be one of them,” said Dr Alvi.

“We doubt that ballot papers could be duplicated through the employees inside the Printing Corporation of Pakistan press in Karachi. So it is better and safe to print these ballot papers somewhere else outside Karachi.”

He suggested that the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, supervise the printing of ballot papers as the paramilitary force was already playing an active role in law-enforcement in the city.

Accompanied by other party leaders, including Karachi PTI president Ali Zaidi, Mr Alvi said the party wanted free and fair by-election and for this purpose it would support every step on administrative and security grounds.

JI supports biometric verification proposal

Meanwhile, the Jamaat-i-Islami, another political party contesting the NA-246 by-election, supported the proposal made by the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, for installation of biometric verification system in polling stations for ‘free, fair and transparent’ polling on April 23.

“The Jamaat-i-Islami has always raised voice against rigging and its struggle has started bearing fruit as other parties and even institutions are supporting these measures which could curb rigging,” a party statement quoted its NA-246 candidate Rashid Nasim as saying.

“The momentum and awareness of election and rigging is proving people’s demand for free and fair polling. The rally of JI women wing on April 17 on Shahrah-i-Pakistan will reflect the real mandate of the people of Karachi as had been seen on April-12.”

MQM opposes proposal

Terming the demands of the PTI and the JI ‘illogical and unnecessary’, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement has demanded that international and national observers be invited to monitor the by-election.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, MQM candidate Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that his party had serious objection to a proposal to install a biometric verification system for the by-election. He said that after the 2013 general elections, 122 by-elections had been held across the country and the biometric system was never used in any of them. “The Election Commission should have taken proper steps to introduce the biometric system.” In response to another question, he said that the MQM believed that Rangers would stay neutral in holding a transparent election.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015

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