A local court has sentenced a man to one-year imprisonment for posing as a presiding officer during the local government elections in Karachi’s Baldia Town last month.Azhar Tariq was found guilty of pretending as a presiding officer and influencing the results of the local bodies elections in Baldia Town held on January 15.A judicial magistrate (West) pronounced the judgment after examining depositions of prosecution witnesses and hearing arguments from both the defence and prosecution sides.
He convicted the accused of offences punishable under the Section 171-F (punishment for undue influence or personation at an election) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), observing that the section covered his both acts of impersonation and undue influence.
The magistrate awarded one-year imprisonment to the convict and also imposed a fine of Rs25,000 on him. In case of failure to pay the fine, he would have to undergo an additional imprisonment of 30 days.The convict, who turned up in court on bail, was subsequently taken into custody and remanded to the prison to serve out the sentence.
According to the prosecution, a police team on patrol in connection with the local government elections in the area intercepted a suspicious person near Qaimkhani Colony Chowk, Baldia Town. Upon his search, a stamped ballot paper book was found in his possession, it said.
The prosecutor said the seized ballot papers had symbols of different political parties with one of the symbols stamped, adding that when the man was asked about the possession of ballots, he said he was a presiding officer. He was arrested after he failed to present any proof of his being on election duty.An FIR was lodged at the Ittehad Town police station under sections 171-F and 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) on behalf of the state.Such instances of fraudsters posing as presiding officers having ballot papers raise doubts over the transparency of the recent local government elections.