Rawalpindi Commissioner Claims To Blow Open Elections Pandora's Box

Claims losers were made to win with a lead of 50,000 votes as the Election Commission of Pakistan refutes allegations of pressure

Rawalpindi Commissioner Claims To Blow Open Elections Pandora's Box

Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha has blown the lid off the Pandora's Box that was the February 8 general elections, claiming he was under severe pressure to ensure the losers won with a lead of 50,000 votes.

The Election Commission, however, has refuted his allegations of pressure or tampering but has called for an inquiry.

In a press conference at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium — which is currently preparing to host matches of the ninth season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Chattha stated that he was deputed in Rawalpindi to conduct elections. However, he admitted that he had failed in his duty to ensure free, fair and transparent elections while facilitating rigging as he apologised to the nation.

He disclosed that in the Rawalpindi Division — where elections on some 13 National Assembly constituencies and around 26 provincial assembly seats were held — they changed the outcomes in seven constituencies. He explained that they ensured that 'losers' won with a lead of 50,000-70,000 votes.

"Even today, our people are stamping ballots with forged stamps," he claimed.

He said that who was responsible for this fraudulent activity and who was behind it all is no hidden matter and is public knowledge.

When pressed about the identities of those involved, he pointed fingers at the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

These people should also resign from their positions.

You should not betray the country or act immorally with it, he asserted while offering justification for blowing the whistle.

Chattha further said that he had a lot of pressure from social media and overseas Pakistanis and that he was passing through hell. He added that after Fajr prayers on the morning of his press conference, he attempted suicide, failing which he decided to tell all.

He admitted to wrongdoing and toying with the fate of the nation and accepted the responsibility for tampering with elections.

You do not need repolls. Simply gather the Form-45s and count the votes, and the results will be clear, he said, adding that to say there were irregularities is quite a timid way of putting it.

Chattha further said he has resigned from his office.

His disclosure comes a day after the Election Commission re-notified results from several constituencies that fall within the Rawalpindi division. The areas which fall under Rawalpindi Division include Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Murree.

ECP rejects Chattha's allegations

Meanwhile, the ECP in a formal statement has vehemently rejected Chattha's allegations against the commission and the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja. It further said that no officer or official of the commission had ever directed the Rawalpindi commissioner to change any result. 

Moreover, the ECP clarified that no divisional commissioner had been appointed as either a district returning officer or returning officer nor as a presiding officer — the official responsible for overseeing the voting process at various stages, including compilation of results. The ECP added that the commissioner has no direct role in the conduct of elections.

The ECP, however, has decided to launch an inquiry into Chattha's allegations at the earliest. 

Separately, Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa also dismissed the allegations, stating that they were not accompanied by any supporting facts.