The run-up to the July election is anything but smooth. Pakistan’s democratic process has been marred by crater-like pockmarks. Old wounds of rigging — discreet and indiscreet — continue to haunt those in the race. And keeping with past traditions, the chatter of electoral fraud has already made it to the lips of all those who matter. Last month, Khursheed Shah, a senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader, rejected rival Imran Khan’s 100-days plan — an outline of what Imran’s party hopes to achieve if elected to power. He further labelled it an attempt of pre-poll rigging. “A 100-days plan is declared after winning an election,” Shah told the media, “Have they already won to be making this announcement?”
Then, there is Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who insists, every opportunity he gets, that election manipulation began the day he was disqualified from office. And till very recently Imran, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, refused to accept the results of the 2013 election, which he claims were snatched from him through unfair means.
But do these allegations carry weight? More importantly, where is the evidence?
There is a long and storied history of vote stealing in Pakistan. In previous elections, ballot manipulation was a simple and relatively easy practice. It was also limited to election day. To win, all one needed were a few strongmen who could take over polling stations/booths and forcefully stuff ballots, depressing the vote share of the rival candidate. However, over time the process has become more complicated and nuanced.
Full Article: Election rigging in Pakistan | Opinion – Geo.tv.