Pakistan poll losers cry foul, but scrips zoom up

Islamabad, May 13 (IANS) Pakistan witnessed protests by losing candidates who alleged rigging Monday, but delighted investors gave such a thumbs-up to the winners that the KSE-100 index zoomed up and breached the record in the country’s history of stock trading.

The Pakistan elections Saturday have proved historic as for the first time in the country’s 65-year existence they marked a transition from one civilian government to another. Nawaz Sharif is all set to be the prime minister for the third time with his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz emerging as the single-largest party.

Soon after unofficial results began to trickle in, some losing candidates, however, levelled allegations that the polls were rigged.

Geo News reported that Pakistan Muslim League-N activists demonstrated outside the Jacobabad Press Club over allegedly rigged poll in NA-208 constituency. The protestors later staged a sit-in outside the office of the returning officer.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists too protested outside Hyderabad Press Club over alleged irregularities in the polling.

Former governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar’s supporters held a demonstration over rigging in Muzaffargarh NA-176 constituency, leading to a clash between the police and the demonstrators. Ghulam Mustafa Khar has refused to accept the results of NA-176.

Hafiz Inamur Rahman, a candidate for Bannu PK-71 cosntituency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, protested at the township chowk, while Pakistan Peoples Party candidate for PK-73 Pukhtunyar Khan along with his hundreds of supporters staged a protest at Bannu sessions court.

PPP candidate Senator Waqar Ahmad Khan for Dera Ismail Khan claimed it was not the people but the police and administration that snatched away victory from him.

As the day progressed, the Election Commission of Pakistan summoned a meeting Monday to review complaints of rigging.

The poll panel will look into the rigging allegations received from various areas of the country, reported Geo News, citing sources.

But, there was good news too.

The day showed the enthusiasm of investors when scrips at the Karachi Stock Exchange hotted up.

The Karachi Stock Exchange KSE-100 index gained in early hours some 300 points, breaching the record of 20,000 points, as investors hailed the outcome of the May 11 polls and hoped for restoration of some peace and stability in the country, reported Geo News.

Investors thronged to buy the blue chips.

Sources said that PML-N victory has given hope to the investors, who like the common masses are yearning for peace and stability in the country.

The 300-point burst pushed the KSE-100 index high, breaching Pakistan’s records in the history of stock trading. Karachi is the commercial hub of Pakistan.

The day also saw Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, announcing his resignation from the post following the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s clean sweep in Punjab elections.

Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother, is again expected to become the chief minister of Punjab. He became the chief minister of Punjab for the first time in 1997 and again in 2008.

The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, which was relegated to the third spot in the National Assembly, now hopes to form its government in the Sindh province.

The daily Dawn cited unofficial results which showed the party has got 70 of the 130 general seats in the Sindh provincial assembly.

The leadership of the Sindh PPP is likely to meet in Karachi Tuesday for consultations on probable candidates for the posts of the leader of the house, the speaker and the deputy speaker.

Millions of Pakistanis braved Taliban threat and bombings to vote Saturday. The National Assembly has a total of 342 seats, and the four provincial assemblies together have 728 seats. Elections were held to 268 of the National Assembly seats. Of the others, 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan recommended a serious initiative to revamp the Election Commission of Pakistan and pointed out that the Pakistani authorities did not succeed in ensuring level playing ground for all parties, their candidates, activists and voters.

The panel has brought out its preliminary report which recommended revamp of the ECP, redefine its priorities, reduce bureaucrats’ meddling in political matters, and grant due representation to women in key positions.

It also noted that the 2013 election was “the costliest ever in the country’s history, and the people with modest means were put at further disadvantage”. The report, however, did not peg the costs.

It also recommended that the legal obligation to review the electoral rolls on year-to-year basis should be strictly honoured and the election staff and the political parties given adequate training in the use of new lists a considerable period in advance of the polls.

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