Dhandli in NA 249
The following report was sent out by Taj Haider, Coordinator, PPP Central Secretariat, Karachi, today. It concerns allegations of rigging in the constituency that returned Farooq Sattar. In the interests of fairness, I intend to speak to Sattar to get his version of events as soon as he gets some time to sit down for a chat.
Posts about the MQM predictably generate a lot of heat here on KMB. Whatever the truth behind those points of difference, I think Sattar is definitely one of the more agreeable personalities in the MQM and I know many of the party’s political opponents feel the same way. He is a workaholic, approachable and relishes talking about policy if you want to engage him. It’s a pity that his election is mired in controversy.
DHANDLI NAMA, 19 February 2008
MQM broke all records of rigging, ballot paper stamping and high handedness in Karachi to make sure that the mandate of the democracy loving people of Karachi was reversed. While results from even the far flung areas were being shown on television channels Karachi results were held up and it was almost this morning when the reversed and highly manipulated results in favor of MQM were given to the channels.
1. Official polling time ended at 5 PM but when PPP candidate took a round of polling stations he found that polling was in progress on 11 polling stations, where even 12 year olds were casting votes.
2. He protested. Subsequently, locks were placed outside the 11 polling stations and the polling staff was inside with MQM militants and workers. PPP polling agents in 7 of these polling stations were thrown out of the polling stations, while on the other 4 both gents and ladies polling agents were locked in rooms by the armed militants.
3. PPP candidate Habib Memon came to the Returning officer and gave him a hand written complaint in this regard.
4. At 6.45 PM MQM candidate Farooq Sattar came there with about 80 militants. About 60 of them were from the newly created City Police of the MQM. They put a cordon around the court of the Returning Officer Mr.Azim.
5. Farooq Stattar demanded that counting of the PPP candidate Habib Memon should be done first, while Habib Memon demanded that first of all the record from the 11 polling stations should be brought in after which counting should start for all the candidates.
6. The Returning Officer agreed with this legal demand and instructed the CPO, the Rangers and the TPO to bring the material from the 11 polling stations. No one however, brought the needed materials.
7. According to the totals of the results of the polling stations wherefrom material had already arrived (all except the disputed 11 stations) PPP candidate Habib Memon was leading by 39, 830 votes.
8. Earlier GEO television had made an announcement based on the results from some of these polling stations, in which Mr. Habib Memon was shown leading by 16,000 votes at that time. GEO did not make any further announcement about progressive results of this constituency.
9. MQM candidate Farooq Sattar continued to call Nazim Saddar Town Dilawar. Every time after he was connected he would move out of the room to talk to the Town Nazim.
10 At around 11.45 it was learnt that all the material of the polling stations had been shifted to the office of the Town Nazim Sadar, instead of the office of the Returning Officer.
11. The RO received calls from the Governor House. The Governor talked to the RO. In his reply the RO was heard repeating the word 73 and 61 several times. He was also seen writing the number 73 on a piece of paper.
12. Presiding Officers from 6 other polling stations from Lyari were also brought to office of Town Nazim Saddar by Rangers.
13. Around 3 A.M the bags containing polling material from polling stations started coming to the office of the RO. The last bag was brought by Town Nazim Saddar personally at 5 AM in the morning.
14. Immediately after that MQM candidate Farooq Sattar addressed a Press Conference announcing that he had won and had received 73,000 votes.
15. A large number of ballot papers stamped in favor of MQM candidate were picked up by PPP workers from outside the Town Nazim’s office and from many other places.
MQM had received only 28,000 votes in this constituency in 2002. Their support to dictatorship has ‘earned’ them additional 45,000 votes in these elections.