Fafen reports procedural violations in NA-120 elections

Highlighting procedural violations in the NA-120 by-election, the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) has stated that its observers were not allowed in 10 per cent of the polling stations by security officials.

In a report released on the eve of the much-hyped contest, Fafen observers said they had recorded an average of four violations per polling station, considerably higher than the 2.6 violations per station observed in the NA-260 election held earlier this year.

In violation of Election Commission of Pakistan rules, political party camps were observed outside 21pc of the polling stations while transport was provided by candidates within the proscribed 400 metres boundary at 33pc of the polling stations, Fafen said.

Fafen observers recorded 11 breaches of voter secrecy and reported that 129 polling booths lacked critical materials "including Form XIV (Statement of Count) and Form XV (Ballot Paper Account)."

Further, chits with party symbols were presented at 152 polling booths while 40 violations of the voter identification process were observed, with polling officers "not fulfilling the procedural requirement […] to call out loud the name of each voter so that polling agents can hear and raise objections, if any."

Fafen has already reported pre-poll violations of the ECP code in another statement released earlier this week.

The NA-120 seat had fallen vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers verdict.

The highly-contested election has been viewed as a litmus test to see how the SC verdict affected those who have elected Nawaz to office thrice in since 1990.

A total of 44 candidates contested for the National Assembly seat from Lahore, with three major contenders.

While the ruling party fielded Kulsoom ─ the former prime minister's wife ─ Dr Yasmin Rashid contested the election for PTI. The PPP had fielded Faisal Mir, the party's former Lahore chapter information secretary, as its candidate.

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