ECP Cites Internet Suspension for Delay in Declaring Results/Reuters
ECP Cites Internet Suspension for Delay in Declaring Results
Contrary to initial assertions, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) admitted on Monday that the suspension of internet and mobile services on the polling day had indeed affected the timely declaration of election results. The ECP stated that the interruption caused by the suspension of services “created hindrance” in the result declaration process during the nationwide general elections held last Thursday.
Delay in Results Spurs Criticism Towards ECP
The delay in announcing results, which were only finalized on Sunday, drew widespread condemnation from political parties, citizens, and observers alike. Despite rumors of horse-trading and concerns about a lack of a clear majority, the ECP insisted that the delay did not favor or harm any specific political party.
Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner, Sikandar Sultan Raja, initially assured that the Election Management System (EMS) was independent of the internet and would remain unaffected. However, the caretaker government suspended mobile services due to security concerns following twin terror attacks that claimed at least 30 lives a day before the elections.
ECP Cites Impact on Coordination and Transport of Election Material
In a statement on Monday, the ECP clarified that the decision to suspend the internet significantly impacted the coordination and transport of election material. While results for some constituencies were completed within one and a half days, the overall delay did not show a bias towards any particular political party.
The introduction of the Election Management System (EMS) app, intended to relay results from polling stations to a centralized system, faced challenges, causing the first result of the 2024 election to be received at 2 am, compared to the 2018 election’s 4 am.
Despite assurances from ECP Secretary Syed Asif Hussain about the EMS working offline, the impact of the internet suspension on election processes cannot be overlooked.