Left Sindh governor post, did not resign from politics: Muhammad Zubair

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KARACHI: Former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair on Sunday said that his resignation from the office did not imply he had quit politics.

While addressing a press conference, Zubair said although he was not required to resign after the elections, he had done so because as per democratic traditions the new federal government should have the authority to appoint the governors of its choice.

He expressed reservations over the manner in which last Wednesday’s elections were conducted, saying these were the other reasons that led him to step down. He criticised the slow pace of vote counting and expressed his reservations about the polling process.

“I do not think there is any doubt left that the 2018 elections were managed to make a particular party win and that too in a way that it is easily able to form the government,” he alleged.

Across the country, he said, vote counting was not properly managed and despite a ban imposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on taking mobile phones inside polling booths, video clips were uploaded on social media and widely shared.

“All the political parties were made aware of the system. All the parties aired their reservations,” he said.

“At six in the morning an ECP representative informed that the system has stopped working,” he said in reference to the failure to upload the results in real-time.

“I want to ask this: did the RTS malfunction, or was it made to malfunction?” he asked.

“If there was a fault [with the RTS], why was the nation not informed about it at 8pm?” he asked, adding that the ECP should show some remorse over how events unfolded. “Who will own responsibility for the RTS breaking down?” he asked.

He claimed that no one had expected that polling agents of parties would be expelled during the counting of ballots “from Peshawar to Karachi”.

“The responsibility for counting [votes] belonged to officers of the election commission and the polling agents. It was not the responsibility of any other department to sit there and count and dictate how the counting would be done and the result would be disclosed,” he added.

He also complained of a non-level playing field before the elections, saying the PML-N’s election campaign was harmed through contempt and disqualification cases against its leaders and jail sentences against its senior leadership.

Zubair was sworn in as the 32nd Governor of Sindh in February 2017. He was sworn in after the shortest-serving Sindh governor retired justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui passed away in January last year.

SINDH GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT CONTRARY TO FACTS: ECP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday said Zubair’s statement that he had resigned because of alleged rigging in the general elections is contrary to facts.

“It is astonishing that a person holding the constitutional office of governor is ignorant about the electoral process and he should better tell the nation the real reason of his resignation,” an ECP spokesperson said in a statement.

He said that election is a continuous process. Many phases of the general elections had already been completed and the successful candidates had been asked to submit details of their expenditure by August 4 so that an official notification of their success could be issued.