The veterans of Pakistan (formerly PESA) on Thursday expressed satisfaction at the peaceful conclusion of the general elections barring two terror incidents. Army’s role to provide security at polling stations was highly appreciated. Troops were seen to be very polite with voters and were ready to provide guidance to various enclosures. Voters were quite open in expressing their love and regards for the soldiers.
A meeting of the Executive Council of Veterans of Pakistan (VOP) was held with its President Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan in the chair which noted with great concern, the United States’ asking IMF to reject Pakistan’s request for a bailout package attempting to push Pakistan towards economic chaos. It is certainly, not the way to reward a country that has suffered much more casualties and economic loss in the war against terror than any other country. Only terrorists would celebrate this act of the United States, the former military leaders observed.
They were confident that US intentions to drive a wedge between Pakistan and China would fail as the cordial bilateral relations have withstood many tests. This act of USA has brought to mind an Urdu proverb that translates, ‘With friends like this, who would need enemies’. VOP members said that political parties were conducting themselves in a purely democratic way as the election process was completed without any visible dispute. There was no complaint even during the counting of ballots.
However, there was a sudden outburst of protest when results started coming out which was due to an unexpected setback suffered by old ruling parties. They noted that the protesting parties have two main points. First that their polling agents were turned out at the start of the counting. However, not a single agent has come out in the open to support that allegation.
Moreover, political parties have also not lodged any specific complaint to Election Commission in this regards except requests by some of the losing candidates for recounting of votes, they added. The second objection relates to non-availability of Form 45 at certain polling stations. Even if that was a fact, that could only result in a delay in compiling the results and not change the count. Result Management System had not worked properly even in 2013 and was discarded. The main reason was a lack of expertise. That only caused delay in compiling result and not any change.
Members took special note of the elections of 2013 that was accepted by both the major parties as fair whereas, according to the draft report on elections that remained on ECP’s website for some time, quite a number of serious irregularities were highlighted.
The decision of the major parties to reject the suggestion for the boycott of assemblies or launch 1977 type agitation was appreciated by all members. The demand by some political parties for the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner is totally inappropriate and without justification, they observed.