Pakistan polls: 1.67m votes rejected

Number of rejected ballots is more than that of ballots discarded in 2013 elections

A Pakistani villager casts his vote at a polling station during general election in Mohri Pur, some 60 kilometres from the central Pakistan city of Multan on July 25, 2018.


Islamabad: A report by an independent election watchdog revealed that 1.67 million votes in Pakistan’s general election were rejected.

The number is 11.7 per cent more than that of the 1.5 million ballots discarded in the 2013 polls.

A ballot is rejected from the count if it does not clearly show which candidate has been marked by the voter or more than one candidate have been marked. 

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, there were over 100 million registered voters but only about 51 per cent voted.

The Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN) report released on Friday was based on its monitoring of four provinces of Pakistan as well as the Islamabad Capital Territory.

There was a 40 per cent increase in the number of rejected votes in Balochistan, 30.6 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 7 per cent in Sindh and 6.6 per cent in Punjab, it said. 

The votes rejected from the count surpassed the margin of victory in 49 (18.1 per cent) of the 270 contested seats of the National Assembly. 

These include 26 seats in Punjab, 11 in Sindh and six each in KP and Balochistan.

Similarly, the number of ballots excluded from the count exceeded the margin of victory in 120 (21 per cent) of the 570 provincial assembly constituencies where elections were held. 

These include 58 constituencies in Punjab, 24 in KP, 22 in Sindh and 16 in Balochistan, the report said.

The victory margin in 79 national and 169 provincial assembly seats is less than 5 per cent of the total votes polled, it said.

According to Pakistan’s election law, a candidate can demand recounting of ballots if the margin of victory is less than 5 per cent of the total votes polled in the constituency, or 10,000, whichever is lesser.

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