Balochistan: Presiding officers were abducted and forced to submit false results

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Two presiding officers from Washuk district of Balochistan have claimed that they were abducted and subsequently forced to submit false results during general elections.

According to the details received by The Balochistan post, a returning officer (RO) of general elections from Balochistan on Thursday told the Election Commission of Pakistan that two presiding officers were allegedly abducted on election day and forced to submit false result.

The accusations came to notice when Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) queried why results of some polling stations were not being included in the final count of the constituency PB-41, located in the Washuk district.

The issue was taken up by the ECP after the petition filed by the losing candidate, Balochistan Awami Party’s Mir Mujeebur Rehman Mohammad Hasani, drew its attention to the fact that the results of polling stations number 44 and 45 were missing from the final result of Balochistan Assembly constituency PB-41.

When ECP officials asked who had abducted the presiding officers, Kamran Murtaza, the counsel of PB-41 seat winner, belonging to the party Mutahida Majlis Amal (MMA), quoted the presiding officers as saying that they were “abducted by security forces”.

The presiding officer of polling station 44 was then presented before the ECP.

“Several masked men came and took me with them. After several hours I was handed the Form 45,” the presiding officer told ECP officials.

Murtaza, however, reminded the ECP that a presiding officer of NA-270, which was also located in the same region, had included the result of these polling stations in the final count and compiled the Form 45.

Meanwhile, the ECP has also uploaded on its website a letter written by the presiding officer of the polling station. In the letter, which is verified and stamped by the returning officer of PB-41, the presiding officer said that he was “abducted by security forces who later forced him to submit the form 45 with the fabricated number of votes written on it” to favor the MMA candidate.

The ECP adjourned the case and asked the NA-270 RO as well as the winning candidate to appear at the next hearing, scheduled for August 28.

Many political parties and candidates had leveled accusations of mass-rigging during general elections held in July in Balochistan.