1.67 million ballots rejected in Pakistan polls: Report

Islamabad: About 1.67 million votes were excluded from the count in Pakistan’s July 25 general election, surpassing the number of ballots rejected in 2013 polls, according to a report by an independent poll watchdog.

Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is a coalition of 30 domestic non-governmental organizations that observe general election and mobilize voters.

According to the FAFEN report, the increase in the number of discarded ballots was a ubiquitous phenomenon observed in Pakistan’s all four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). Overall, the increase was recorded at around 11.7 per cent.

There were more than 100 million registered voters in Pakistan but out of them, only about 51 per cent exercised their franchise, according to the Election Commission.

Around 40 per cent increase in the number of rejected votes was observed in Balochistan, 30.6 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 7 per cent in Sindh and 6.6 per cent in Punjab, said the report cited by Geo News.

In ICT, the number of ballots excluded from the count was over double the discarded ballots in the region in 2013 election.

The report also said that the number of votes excluded from the count surpassed the margin of victory in 120 (21 per cent) of the 570 provincial assembly constituencies where polls were conducted.

These included 58 constituencies in Punjab, 24 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 22 in Sindh and 16 in Balochistan.

The victory margin in 79 national and 169 provincial assembly seats was less than 5 per cent of the total votes cast, FAFEN said.