Election regulator uploads forms almost two weeks after expiry of stipulated time


Faisal Sheikh

ISLAMABAD: After a prolonged delay, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finally uploaded Forms 45, 46, 48, and 49, related to the February 8 general elections, amid allegations of massive rigging and tempering results.

The election regulator uploaded the election-related forms of all the constituencies of provincial and national assemblies, almost two weeks after the expiry of the stipulated time. The deadline for publishing the forms expired on February 22.

Last month, a senior ECP official conceded it was unlikely for the electoral body to meet the legal deadline despite the best efforts, something it could not do in the past as well, owing to various reasons.

He explained that some 300 petitions, regarding the difference between forms 45 and 47 had landed at the ECP on the orders of high courts.

The official pointed out that many petitioners were carrying Forms 45 which were different from the ones the respondents had in possession.

Earlier this week, lambasting the eight-party ruling coalition in the National Assembly, PTI leader and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmaker Omar Ayub Khan dubbed newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif a “product” of Form 47 — a document which provides insight into unconfirmed results of a constituency, including the number of votes cast and cancelled.

The PTI claimed its mandate was stolen in the February 8 general elections and results were changed in Form 47s.

The Imran Khan-founded party also claimed they won 180 NA seats as per the statistics of Form 45s.

It is pertinent to mention here that Form 45, also known as the Presiding Officer’s Results of the Count, is the form that the presiding officer (PO) is required to sign and provide with his thumb impression and signature to the polling agents.

This form records the number of votes cast in a polling station. It also separately mentions how many votes a candidate received from that polling station.

The purpose of this form is to prevent any alteration during the process, ensuring transparency in the results. This is admissible in court too.

Form 46 is the form that has the count for the ballot papers. It has the number of ballot papers received at a polling station, the number of ballot papers taken out of the ballot box, tendered ballot papers, challenged, spoiled, stray, and cancelled ballot papers at a polling station.

Form 47 is another important form related to polling stations. In this form, the count of votes from all the polling stations of a constituency is recorded by the Returning Officer.

This makes a provisional consolidated result of the constituency sans postal ballots. A postal ballot is a ballot of a registered voter and it is filled and sent to the voting centre through postal mail by the person eligible for postal ballot.