The long-awaited Pakistani elections have finally taken place and ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his party PML-N have come out as the winners. While the Election Commission of Pakistan did its best to monitor the situation, numerous accounts of rigging were reported and in some cases even caught on camera.
Here is a look at some of the videos showing election rigging and cheating that went viral on the social media. Watch this one here.
This video shows an individual stuffing the ballot box with multiple ballot papers in Karachi's NA-250, Defence Clifton polling station. It also shows the police allowing the man to leave the premises without arresting him.
This video shows rigging Dera Ismail Khan. The woman in the white burka is seen making sure and telling each voter to vote for a particular candidate. She then checks the ballot paper to make sure the voter followed her order. The second part of the video shows 240 bogus votes caught and annuled by the authorities.
Another video showing two individuals marking multiple voting papers.
At the beginning of this video, a woman is heard asking the officials at the station in Urdu, "Why are you withstanding this blatant rigging in front of you? Aren't you ashamed of yourself?" Towards the end of the video, multiple papers are seen being signed by an individual who is presumably one of the officials at the polling station.
At the polling station where I voted (NA-125), the PML-N's Saad Rafiq held up the polling station for 90 minutes with fourteen armed gunmen. He warned the people not to vote for any other party than the PML-N. The police stood by and watched. Eventually the Rangers came in and slapped Saad Rafiq's guards around and the polling resumed. In a place where literally everyone I saw had an Imran Khan t-shirt or a PTI arm band on, the PML-N won.
In an election that is a historic landmark for the country it is deplorable to see instances of such blatant and obvious rigging. What is worse is the lack of action on part of the Pakistani Police.
The police at an election poll can be found here.
Probably the PML-N would have won the election even if rigging had not taken place. However, that does not make rigging alright and also does not mean other political parties got a fair representation.
In a country that has a long history of continuous political instability and regular army intervention into the civilian domain, it is extremely disheartening to see that when democracy does get a chance, it is exploited, distorted, and mutilated by people and politicians alike.