News / Asia

National Observers Note Irregularities in Pakistan Elections

Pakistani election staff count ballots at a polling station in Islamabad, May 11, 2013. Pakistani election staff count ballots at a polling station in Islamabad, May 11, 2013.
x
Pakistani election staff count ballots at a polling station in Islamabad, May 11, 2013.
Pakistani election staff count ballots at a polling station in Islamabad, May 11, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Pakistan’s Election Commission on Sunday endorsed the country’s landmark elections that will see the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power via the ballot box in the country's history. It declared the country’s elections for a new national assembly and government leadership as “largely free and fair.” But Pakistani non-governmental observers noted voting irregularities and terror attacks in parts of the country meant that not everyone’s voice was heard.

Free and Fair Election Network CEO Muddassir Rizvi says there were serious incidents of voting irregularities, fraud and intimidation in areas such as in the southern city of Karachi.

"In general, we are not questioning the legitimacy of the process in most parts of Pakistan except for certain constituencies in Karachi, and perhaps some constituencies in Baluchistan where the anti-election campaign was so active that in many instances the election commission could not even set up polling stations," said Rizvi.

The Election Commission said due to threats, the vote in 43 polling stations in the city would have to be re-held.

The FAFEN network deployed 41,000 observers across the country for the May 11 poll, including high-risk areas that international observers could not reach.  But the group said the level of terror threats in the northwestern tribal areas and the adjoining Khyber-Patunkhwa province made it difficult to determine how fair the elections were in those regions.

Prior to voting day, Taliban and other militant attacks killed more than 100 people, targeting political candidates and supporters of parties they perceived as secular and anti-Islamic.

Jinnah Institute director of policy and programs Raza Rumi says the attacks skewed the political playing field.

“Whatever happened, happened before the polls, because the Taliban had very clearly stated that they would not want the PPP,  the outgoing government, and the liberal ANP and MQM to form the next government or even to campaign, so they had severe campaign challenges.  They could not freely campaign.  There were only two parties that vigorously campaigned, Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League and Imran Khan’s PTI - so we can see the results, that you know, both these parties have done well," said Rumi.  

Initial, unofficial, results show veteran politician and two-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Party far in the lead, and Sharif looks set to lead the country once again.  Former cricketer Imran Khan’s party, that made its political debut in the elections, had a stronger than expected showing, and handed him a strong regional foothold, but not enough to challenge Sharif’s party.

Accountant Abdul Qadeer says although he did not vote for Sharif, he feels the elections were a success.

"I am proud that I casted my vote and that was the indication of my vote. My whole family voted. We voted for Imran Khan, but my full sympathies and full support is for Nawaz Sharif and he should come up and take this nation with him, and he should leave his faults in the previous governments and he should come up with new ideas and new things that will make us a proud nation," said Qadeer.

The challenges for any new government are considerable. Pakistan has a weak economy, major energy shortages, and powerful extremist and militant groups that the past government was unable to control

The hope appears to be that Sharif, a protégé of Pakistan’s powerful military until he challenged them and found himself in jail, will draw upon his past political experience to tackle these problems.

With expectations running high, Sharif and his party could quickly come under pressure to show effective leadership.

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Terry from: VI
May 12, 2013 1:35 PM
No wonder obama praised the election earlier today.


by: justinphilpot
May 12, 2013 1:26 PM
ain't our business, with draw you nose.


by: pr aguillen
May 12, 2013 1:14 PM
How can any other country take the USA serious about elections when there were was fraud in American elections when they voted for obummer


by: Truth will Prevail from: California
May 12, 2013 1:13 PM
Similar to the fraud we had in our elections in the USA...how do we really know that OBAMA is our true president...now that we know his and the thugs that bought the IRS and other fraudulent organizations

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid