ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) declared on Sunday that not only were the 2013 polls the ‘costliest’ in the country’s history, but also ‘grossly mismanaged’ by the election commission. It put forth a string of recommendations, including a year-to-year review of electoral rolls.
“The May 11 election has been rated by most of HRCP’s observers as a most poorly managed affair,” said a preliminary report based on several months of observation and the May 11 polling in several parts of Pakistan.
According to the report, polling stations were not properly selected, and many did not even have enough room for the staff to be properly accommodated. At 17 of the 57 National Assembly constituencies observed – 8 in Balochistan, 13 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 19 in Punjab and 17 in Sindh – the required material was short in supply or not available at all.
“It seems the returning officers selected polling stations without inspection of sites by themselves or their responsible deputies,” the document further stated, recommending a scheme of permanent polling stations, with the possibility to add or delete stations as warranted by circumstances.
“The HRCP recommends that the legal obligation to review the electoral rolls on a year to year basis should be strictly honored and the election staff and the political parties given adequate training in the use of new lists a considerable period in advance of the polls,” it said.
It also highlighted that no fresh delimitation of constituencies was carried out this time around, though the need for it was obvious. To resolve this issue, the HRCP recommended the government give due priority to holding the national census.
Additionally, the HRCP said people deserved an explanation for the undue delay in announcing results for several constituencies in Baluchistan.