Unofficial results will not be seeing the light of day as the Punjab Election Commission (EC) will be ensuring that the code of conduct is followed properly.
Political parties find this announcement to be a cause of concern as this would mean that the results of the election will not be seen for as long as three days. Until the returning officers announce the final results, no one will know who won and who lost.
The ECP secretary announced on Monday that media channels airing unofficial results of the local government elections would be penalised and only returning officer would announce the final results of the elections.
“The code of conduct will be implemented in the local government elections and unofficial results will not be given to anybody whether it is media or political parties,” Punjab Election Commission Masud Ahmad Malik said. He said the pool of results is larger and time will be required to announce them. He added that it could take up to three days before an announcement can be made.
He said that in India the results of elections are announced after three months but in Pakistan people act with unnecessary haste over the results, and they should follow the laws regarding results.
“The by-polls, especially of NA-122, were conducted in a transparent way and it is another matter that political parties keep raising their fingers over the Election Commission to express their reservations,” he said.
“It is impossible to deploy the army inside all polling stations during local government elections as the army has bigger problems like the Zarb-e-Azb operation. The army will be taking rounds of the polling stations to stop any untoward incident,” Masud said.
Pakistan Muslim League – N (PML-N) leaders were not available for a comment over the decision. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Punjab Organiser Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, however, had a lot to say.
“PTI has many reservations with the Punjab Election Commission as it has played the role of the ‘B team’ of the ruling party during by-elections especially in by-polls of NA-122. PML-N was given the correct voter’s lists whereas we were given incorrect lists,” he said.
“PTI has been informed that three days are required for the results of the local government elections to be announced. However, we do not believe that the EC is impartial because of past experiences,” he added.
However, Masud does not care for the criticism.
“I do not bother about the statements of political parties, especially Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf which says that Punjab Election Commission is working as the ‘B team’ of the ruling party,” he said.