Recounting might pacify passions

THE Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday issued a list of 26 National and Provincial Assemblies’ constituencies where recounting has been permitted. The requests were approved in constituencies where the Commission did not receive Form 49s — which tabulates consolidated results including postal ballots.
ECP has done well by approving recount in most of the constituencies where rival candidates have complained of rigging and these include those belonging to PML (N), PTI, MMA and PPP. Credibility of the polls is at stake because of allegations of rigging at the very initial stage and the decision to go for recount would surely help calm down tension in national politics and provide some sort of solace to those who believe rigging took place at some stage. At a time when majority of parties are crying foul, it is but natural to take remedial measures to address their grievances. In fact, the justice demand that recount should have been carried out then and there at the level of Returning Officer if the contesting candidates provided solid evidence of something wrong but intriguingly ROs in some constituencies turned down requests of some candidates especially those belonging to opposition parties raising doubts about the motives.
As against this, ROs in some other constituencies ordered quick recount, which was also considered as a favour by the rival candidates. One such example is NA-57 where the RO initially denied request of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, then a decision for recount was taken after strong protest by people of the constituency but next day the recount was not allowed. By ordering recount in 26 constituencies, the ECP has proved once again that it has necessary powers to ensure transparency of polls and is willing to exercise those powers without any discrimination, fear or favour. The trouble began due to wrong decision to keep media away from polling and counting process and also complaints that polling agents of some parties were not allowed presence during counting. Non-provision of the result form also allowed controversies to raise their head and the ECP might call explanation from all such ROs.

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