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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid