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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid