ISLAMABAD  - Former secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Kanwar Dilshad has said that the detection of thousands of fake votes in two National Assembly constituencies of Karachi has greatly challenged the credibility of May 11 general elections.

He has demanded of the ECP to conduct an impartial and speedy probe to find out the number of fake votes in all the electoral constituencies across Pakistan. “I fear the number of fake votes is in millions. Only an impartial probe can find out the truth,” he added.

Talking to The Nation, Kanwar Dilshad also demanded of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and ECP not to charge a single penny from candidates who wanted thumb impression verification in their constituencies. “From the two Karachi constituencies, it becomes crystal clear that there could be thousands of bogus votes in every constituency. It is the candidates right to go for thumb impression verification. Why charge them?” he questioned.

Dilshad, who had said shortly after the May 11 general elections that the polls were ‘greatest fraud in Pakistan’s history,’ said the entire nation has been befooled by this melodrama.

“The Returning Officers (ROs) are directly responsible for this fiasco. They have direct role in rigging the elections on the behest of political parties and adding insult to injury, the ECP machinery could not stop them. It is a shameful episode in our history. The public mandate was never ridiculed the way it was, on May 11,” he added. The former secretary ECP lamented that former chief election commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim could not take care of the electoral affairs to ensure foolproof arrangements for the general elections due to his old age. “Fakhru Bhai could not do what he was supposed to do. He is a bit too old and unfit for a job as hectic as being a CEC. It’s good for his health, for ECP and for public that he has stepped down,” he added.

Kanwar Dilshad hoped that incumbent Acting Chief Election Commissioner Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Secretary ECP Ishtiak Ahmad Khan would ‘leave no stone unturned’ to take to task the elements who were responsible for bogus, unverified or fake voting.

“The credibility of Ishtiak Ahmad Khan is beyond any doubt. I hope he will play a frontline role under the command of Justice Jillani to expose this saga that has made mockery of our electoral system,” he added.

He said it was the duty of ECP to find out as to who was instrumental in the printing of 200 million ballot papers of poor quality that could not be traced or read by NADRA’s system and software.

“Whosoever has ordered this shall be made an example out of. Nobody shall go unpunished. It is time we draw lessons from this debacle to move on for forging foolproof electoral system in future. Otherwise we cannot move an inch towards progress, can we? “

Dilshad fully supported the demands of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) for completely overhauling the electoral machinery and sending the highly partisan ECP members packing. “This is the only way to stop repeating blunders done in past.”