Re-polling in NA-250 started on May 19 with heavy security arrangements. Law enforcers were deployed at each polling station; these extra security measures must have surprised everybody because when they were not provided on May 11 when they were needed, they led to many irregularities. All parties had requested the ECP to deploy personnel of law enforcement agencies inside the polling stations on May 11, but no one took any notice.

On May 11, the security officials – already few in number – literally stood and watched on as silent spectators, when objectionable practices started. The fact is that the ECP’s performance has been really not been up to the mark or what was expected throughout the country as complaints, with documentary evidence, are still pouring in and being shown on electronic media. Will the ECP explain why voters were allowed to carry mobile phones with them when they were banned? It is very unfortunate that we have to learn from our mistakes and we keep on making them again and again.

All this could have been avoided and all loopholes could have been plugged in if the ECP had stood up when the first report of rigging came. Initially, the security officers should have been placed inside the polling station to ensure smooth polling, instead of standing on the roads outside doing nothing. It is not a routine protest against the rigging, but a protest that voters were denied their right to voting. They all had gathered for a change and to get rid of dynastic politics, but the institutions remained aloof and made it easy for the same old corrupt politicians to comeback.

Where did Article 62 and 63 go? All the Returning Officers who failed to discipline and stop them from being accepted are responsible for the carnage of the next coming five years (If we survive it).

The polling staff, which was mostly of teachers and government officers should be severely punished and held accountable as well as the results of such polling stations be held, so that the next elections could be held without rigging. The polling staff, that was absent on May 11, should also be brought to justice. The courts and justice departments should be acting on this issue. Though the damage has been done, that cannot be undone; the bottom line is to let us now forget the differences and jointly work for the progress of the country. A people who look backwards can never move ahead.

MUKHTAR AHMED BUTT,

Karachi, May 19.