Electoral transparency challenge

Through this newspaper, I want to draw your attention to the surprising 2024 elections in Paki­stan. The election, held on Febru­ary 8 after two years of political turmoil and a months-long delay, was both marred and hopeful.

Election day began with internet and cellular services cut off under the pretext of security after two terrorist attacks the previous day killed at least 28 people in Balo­chistan. This was also expected to disrupt turnout, but more than 61 million voters showed up at the polls, and the voter turnout was 48 percent.

The election result, which took a few days to come in, was a stun­ning upset: candidates backed by Khan’s PTI won a plurality of parliamentary seats (93 out of 266), though not an outright ma­jority. The party alleges that it would have won more seats were it not for interference by the au­thorities.

Party officials cited major dis­crepancies in polling station versus constituency-level results (the for­mer did not add up to the latter), unexplained delays in vote count­ing and results being tabulated (re­sults stopped coming in abruptly on election night), and the fact that some candidates ‘lost’ major vote leads reported on election night by the next morning.

The Free and Fair Election Net­work, an election observer, noted that its election agents were not al­lowed to observe the result tabula­tions in about half of the electoral constituencies; in dozens of oth­er constituencies, the candidates and their election agents were also prevented from observing the vote tallies (as is their right under Paki­stan’s election rules).



ePaper - Nawaiwaqt