The Election Commission has rebuffed allegations of electoral fraud in the recent general elections, citing significant challenges faced before and during the electoral process. According to a spokesperson for the commission, numerous obstacles were encountered both prior to and during the elections, particularly in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where incidents of terrorism posed a significant challenge to the conduct of elections. In such circumstances, the rapid pace of electoral activities, especially the announcement of results, posed a risk to human lives, prompting concerns about the overall integrity of the electoral process.
To address these challenges, priority measures were implemented, including the suspension of mobile phone services nationwide based on security agencies’ recommendations. Additionally, supporters of unsuccessful candidates staged sit-ins at polling stations, resulting in logistical difficulties for polling staff.
In some regions of Balochistan, the commission had to resort to helicopter transportation to facilitate the movement of polling staff and materials. Moreover, to streamline security arrangements and facilitate coordination, five to six Returning Officers’ offices were established in one location across several parts of the country. However, this led to overcrowding and congestion in front of these offices, impeding the collection of polling materials and affecting the preparation of election results.
The spokesperson emphasized that the Election Management System (EMS) played a crucial role in collating election results through the pre-polling officers stationed at the RO offices. Despite this, technical issues arose due to the requirement of internet connectivity to send Form-45 RO results via the EMS mobile app, which was hampered by internet shutdowns.
Despite these challenges, the Election Commission successfully maintained peace and order in the electoral process on February 8. The commission continues to address complaints and issues even after office hours, ensuring prompt resolution and decision-making. This proactive approach underscores the commission’s commitment to upholding the integrity and transparency of the electoral process, even in the face of formidable challenges and constraints.