Fraudulence and fudging in the Election Process to Block Imran Khan and his PTI
“Concerns Mount as International Observers Question Legitimacy of Pakistani Election Results”
By Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney Australia
The people of Pakistan displayed loyalty and political support for Imran Khan by turning out in the majority to cast votes for PTI-nominated candidates. However, the caretaker government and established institutions resorted to various forms of fraudulence and cheating during the compilation of results for PTI-backed candidates.
The election process, as laid down constitutionally in the election rules, is as follows:
Each independent candidate is assigned an election symbol, while nominated candidates of political parties use their party symbol. In this election, to hinder Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), its party symbol ‘cricket bat’ was stripped from PTI. Consequently, PTI nominated their candidate as an independent candidate. It’s noteworthy that Imran Khan had already faced false charges, imprisonment, and a ban on contesting elections.
On February 8, 2024, election day, Imran Khan supporters turned out in record numbers to vote for PTI’s nominated candidates. This came as a surprise to the army-backed caretaker government and the election commission. Supporters began queuing early in the morning with great discipline, eagerly awaiting the opening of polling booths at 8 AM. Reports emerged that many polling stations failed to open on time, and some faced internal issues, leading to delayed polling.
The election voting process was covered by national and international media live, with election observers witnessing the proceedings. Media reports indicated that Mr. Khan’s supporters were deeply emotional and excited to vote for him, demonstrating their loyalty and expressing their discontent with the brutality inflicted on them by the establishment and police over the past two years.
Voting ceased at 5 PM (on Feb 8), and the counting commenced. According to the rules, each candidate had an agent in the polling station to mark and tally votes. Election commission staff at
each polling booth recorded the votes. At the close of voting, the staff compiled the number of votes for each candidate and prepared a summary on Form 45 under the supervision of the presiding officer. This Form 45 was then signed by the presiding officer, and copies were provided to the polling agents. The Form 45, containing the number of votes for each candidate, was handed over to the Returning Officer (RO), who compiled the figures and prepared Form 47 for each polling station.
Candidates were entitled to receive a copy of Form 47, and the media could also obtain a copy. However, the RO unlawfully expelled the candidates and their agents from the RO office with the assistance of the police.
Upon receiving results from Form 47, media outlets began announcing them. Initially, PTI-nominated candidates were winning in under 10 percent of the results, indicating a probable PTI victory. However, senior election commission officials, government officials, and the establishment intervened, halting the counting process for many hours. This action shocked the media and the public, raising suspicions of data manipulation.
Initial results announced indicated that prominent members of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), including Nawaz Sharif, were losing the election. The election commission cited technical issues with their EMS system as the reason for the delay. However, when results were gradually announced after hours, the figures for winning candidates were altered. For instance, Pakistani TV channels initially reported that Nawaz Sharif lost in both constituencies he contested, but later announced his victory after his vote count was allegedly manipulated.
In reality, PTI’s independent candidates possess a lead over other parties despite facing cheating and fraud. As of my writing this article, according to the election commission, out of 100 national seats announced for independent candidates, PML (N) won 73 and PPP won 53. However, PTI claims that according to their vote count recorded on Form 45, they should have won 180 seats and formed the government.
Prominent democratic countries, including the USA, UK, Europe, and Australia, have spoken out strongly against these fraudulent and rigged elections.
The Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on February 10 regarding the elections in Pakistan. The press release states, “Australia acknowledges the initial results of Pakistan’s general elections held on February 8, 2024. Australia has consistently advocated for a free, fair, inclusive, and credible electoral process – in line with Pakistan’s Constitution and its international obligations.” It expresses condolences for the loss of life due to terrorist attacks before and during the elections and regrets that the Pakistani people were restricted in their choice, as not all political parties were allowed to contest the elections. The press release further asserts Australia’s support for a democratic, stable, and prosperous Pakistan that upholds its commitments to democratic principles, including human rights, media freedoms, freedom of expression, and freedom of association.
The US and UK have called for an investigation into reported irregularities in Pakistan’s election. The US Department of State has expressed its expectation of “timely, complete election results” from Pakistan reflecting the will of its people. It also stated its readiness to collaborate with the next Pakistani government, irrespective of political party, to advance shared interests.
Al Jazeera covered the Pakistani election with the headline “Serious concerns: World reacts to Pakistani polls as vote count continues.” CNN also reported on the Pakistani election, stating, “In a shocking outcome, allies of jailed former leader Khan won the most seats in Pakistan’s general election.” It highlighted those independent candidates affiliated with Imran Khan’s party secured the most National Assembly seats in a vote tainted by a slow count and allegations of rigging.
The entire fiasco surrounding the 2024 election in Pakistan underscores the Pakistani people’s desire for true democracy and fair elections. They seek honest and upright leaders in politics and government. However, the Pakistani military, whether ruling directly through martial law or through its creation of corrupt so-called leaders and parties, perpetuates a flawed system of governance over the 250 million people of Pakistan, exposing the manipulation inherent in Pakistan’s dictatorship and military-backed pseudo-democratic system.
I appeal to international human rights organizations, the United Nations, and powerful democratic countries to stand in support of the people of Pakistan. They must utilize their influence to compel the current oppressive regime in Pakistan to establish a genuine, fair, and just system for the Pakistani nation.
As advocates for democracy and human rights, it is imperative for the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan and demand accountability from the ruling authorities. By exerting diplomatic pressure and supporting efforts to address electoral fraud, we can uphold democratic values and empower the Pakistani people to determine their political future. (The writer of this reporter analysis and opinion is a Sydney-based journalist, political analyst, writer, commentator and editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Syed Atiq ul Hassan
Sydney-based journalist, political analyst and a commentator
Mob +61 479 143 628