News reel


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Puncturing the Puncture Myth

Statistical Evidence of Blunt Lies by Imran Khan

After failure of Tsunami on 11th May 2013 and losing to both PMLN and PPP, Imran Khan has been foul crying and raising many baseless allegations against the opponents, primarily PMLN.
Other than typical allegations, Imran Khan has recently claimed that a foreign ambassador told him that Najam Sethi had called Nawaz Sharif on Election Day and told Sharif that he (Najam Sethi) has put 35 punctures. Imran Khan claims that these 35 punctures are actually 35 seats that Najam Sethi rigged in favor of PMLN as Chief Minister.
Now lets analyze Imran Khan’s claim about 35 punctures:
1- The story about 35 punctures was not released by any journalist, instead it was just a statement by Imran Khan himself
2- There has been no news or statement regarding Imran Khan meeting any ambassador around when he released the puncture statement
3- Assuming the foreign ambassador told Imran Khan about this shocking information, why Imran Khan did not raise voice against spying by foreign country against state of Pakistan like he highlighted the assassination of Hakimullah Masood by foreign state?
4- Although it is almost unlikely, but assuming Najam Sethi did call Nawaz Sharif and told him about 35 punctures, could Sethi be referring to around 35 seats that PTI won causing puncture in PMLN’s mandate?
As per today’s report, Najam Sethi claimed that he would commit suicide if Imran Khan can prove that validity of his allegation of puncture. This have put the ball in Imran Khan’s court where he has to come and to give the evidence of his allegations to the nation.
The actual reason of this claim by Imran Khan is that he has been badly criticized and cornered by entire nation including his voters on the recent wave of terrorism and his support for TTP. Therefore, he is finding new ways of retaining his vote bank with giving lollipops in form of this 35-puncture joke. Unfortunately Imran Khan thinks of our youth as naïve and gullible who can be emotionally exploited without demanding any reasons/logics or questioning the credibility of his statements.
The recent episode of 35 puncture is a prime example of this phenomenon.
Now lets summarize the pre-election allegations by Imran Khan that he has been claiming since last several years to justify his failure:
- Large percentage of fake voters in voter lists
- Judiciary not free
- The election commissioner not neutral
- Low voter turnout
- Biased executive
All of these allegations were dealt with reasonable satisfaction.
- For first time in the history of Pakistan, the voter lists were prepared through computerized NADRA database with pictures/NIC numbers. The Election Commission ran vigorous campaign to urge people to verify their votes through SMS and/or through advertised locations
- Imran Khan was involved in Judicial Movement and had full trust in Judiciary
- Imran Khan welcomed the appointment of Fakhruddin Ibrahim as Chief Election commissioner
- The voter turnout on 11th May 2013 was the highest in recent history of Pakistan
- The Prime Minister and 4 Chief Ministers were proposed by PPP, who was the main opponent of PMLN in last elections. Anyone claiming “muk-muka” between PMLN and PPP must not have any doubts after witnessing the ugliest campaign on media by PPP against PMLN. Imran Khan himself met CM Najam Sethi and his expressed his confidence and trust in him in conducting free and fair elections. Unlike the federal and other 3 provinces, Punjab was the only province where the interim CM Sethi re-shuffled the entire bureaucracy of Punjab that was functioning under Shahbaz Sharif
After experiencing shameful defeat of tsunami of Imran Khan, a new wave of propaganda and allegations were raised against PMLN.
Based on the election results, the main allegation of PTI were the following:
1- PMLN put fake votes in ballot boxes to increase their votes
2- PMLN stopped verification of votes to hide their rigging
3- Army was only deployed outside polling stations, not inside
Lets start with the first issue that PMLN put fake votes in the ballot boxes. This claim is absurd due to the following facts:
1- Polling agents of every party were present inside around 50,000 polling stations guarding the ballot boxes. Every polling agent counted the vote in front of his eyes and signed the polling result sheet inside the polling station.
2- The law-and-order situation in Punjab was satisfactory and there were no no-go-areas where someone could forcibly put the votes.
3- The winning candidate in Punjab on average gets around 80,000+ votes for a National Assembly seat and around 40,000+ votes for a Provincial Assembly seat based on previous elections in 2008. The votes casted in favor of PTI were shamefully low against the claims made by tsunami.
Anyone with basic knowledge and experience of Pakistani politics know that rigging or fake votes can possibly play a part (if any) in close contest in that particular constituency. This is the primary reason why Election Commission allows re-counting of votes in constituencies where winning margin is very low, typically a couple of thousand, or in most cases, few hundred votes only. Re-polling on some polling stations can also be done due to law-and-order situation on those particular polling stations only.
Here are some interesting statistics that should highlight the reasons behind failure of PTI.
1- On 55 NA seats in Punjab, PTI’s candidates had their security deposit forfeited (“Zamanat Zabat”). This means that tsunami could not even secure 12.5% (1/8) votes in the 40% constituencies in Punjab. This excludes seats where PTI even failed to field candidates. Is it PMLN’s fault that PTI could not even secure minimum votes to save their security deposit and avoid this humiliation on 40% seats of Punjab? Were all tsunami supporters also busy in puncturing in favor of PMLN?
2- Some examples of collapse of tsunami in Punjab include NA64 where PTI got only 4.9% votes, NA65 4.7%, NA67 3.1%, NA74 2.5% (this is neighbor constituency of Mianwali where Imran Khan won), NA90 1.2%, NA100 3.5%, NA101 5.8%, NA102 3.2%, NA137 5.2%, NA138 7.2%, NA145 7.2%, NA146 7.3%, NA147 5.1%, NA174 3.2%, NA176 5.2%, NA179 4.6%, NA180 1.4%, NA187 0.19%, NA188 0.9% votes only etc
3- The closest contest in Punjab where margin of winning was less than 2,000 votes was only on 3 seats. On all these 3 seats, PMLN was the losing party. These were the easiest seats where Sethi could have applied “so called puncture” in favor of PMLN, but it didn’t happen. These 3 seats were NA59 with margin of 465 votes, NA188 with margin of 1,275 and NA192 with margin of just 1,291 votes.
4- There is a not a single seat where PTI lost with a margin of less than 2,000 votes where Sethi’s (so called) puncture could have come to effect to favor PMLN. Similarly, there are only 2 seats where PTI lost with a margin of less than 5,000 votes and there are only 4 seats where PTI lost with a margin of less than 10,000 votes. So in total, (so called) puncture could have helped PMLN in maximum 4 seats only.
5- Lets analyze the solid and convincing winning margin of PMLN against PTI in Punjab:
- There are 17 seats where PMLN won with margin of more than 90,000 votes against PTI
- 36 seats where PMLN beat PTI with margin of more than 80,000 votes
- 51 seats where margin is greater than 70,000 votes
- 81 seats with margin of more than 50,000 votes
- 97 seats with winning margin of more than 40,000 votes
- 114 seats where PMLN won with convincing margin of more than 20,000 votes
Now lets assume that Sethi provided a massive puncture of 20,000 fake votes on each constituency in favor of PMLN, then there are only 12 seats where PMLN could have won due to rigging against the opponents. Contrary to the claims of Imran Khan, there is no way Sethi could have rigged 35 seats in favor of PMLN. In order to rig 35 seats, Sethi would had to rig with unimaginable and impossible votes of 60,000 fake votes per constituency.
Now remember that on Election Day, the voting was overall peaceful and also confirmed by independent media. We should not forget that in 2008, the media was not free and it was gagged under Musharraf’s emergency. This election also experienced a very high voter turnout and PTI was claiming their victory in bringing out the youth in massive numbers until 5pm. If there was a massive rigging where 60,000 fake votes were being casted in 35 constituencies, then there is no way that it could have been hidden from eyes of the media, which was heavily inclined towards PTI during the entire election campaign.
Now coming to the other 2 allegations of Imran Khan related to vote verification and army deployment, Imran Khan is deliberately misleading his supporters.
1- PMLN as government has no role or saying in verification of votes. The responsibility of any verification solely lies with the Election Commission or the Courts.
2- The Election Commission has refused to entertain PTI’s request for vote verification since PTI could not provide any solid evidence of rigging by PMLN.
3- The Election Commission has also refused for recounting, as the margin of winning by PMLN is considerably large.
4- During the first by-elections in August 2013, the army was deployed both inside and outside of polling stations as per PTI’s demands and yet PMLN secured the largest number of seats in those elections. Not only that, but Imran Khan lost 2 of his own seats from Mianwali and Peshawar. There was no Sethi and PTI was running its own government in KPK, yet their own tsunami collapsed in Peshawar and Haripur.
The above arguments and statistical data should be able to convince anyone with reasoning that there was no such thing as historic rigging that stopped PTI from coming to power. Imran Khan cannot use the rigging mantra for next 5 years and must show his performance in KPK to win hearts and minds of his followers.