Media pundits have been raging on about forms 14 and 15, after the judicial commission furthered its inquiry into the alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections. Recent revelations about missing form-15s has sparked a renewed effort by parties in the opposition to put pressure on the government and the judicial commission to do a thorough examination of the facts. But what exactly are forms 14 and 15?
Lost in translation
The mainstream news media in Pakistan is having a much deserved field day with the recent findings of the Judicial Commission (JC). The JC has been asked to probe into various matters presented before them with respect to allegations of rigging in the 2013 general election. The JC received reports from the various district judges that were asked to obtain copies of form-15s by June 8. In their findings, the JC reports that it is apparent that there have been massive irregularities in the 2013 election with almost 33% of 169 National Assembly constituencies missing these crucial electoral documents. However, it has left many wondering what these forms are and why they matter.
What is a Form-14?
In order to understand the Form-15, we first need to look at Form-14. Form-14 is also sometimes known as the “Statement of Count”. In its very basic form, it holds information of count for one polling station in a constituency. This include the following:
- Total number of registered voters at the said polling station
- Total number of votes polled (separately for males and females)
- Total number votes cast
- Total number of votes rejected
- Total number of votes accepted
What is a Form-15?
For one particular constituency, there are several polling stations. Take for instance the constituency NA-1 (Peshawar); the total number of polling stations serving the NA-1 constituency was 222, while NA-2 (Peshawar) had 194 polling stations and so on.
Thus, once it is time to officially announce the results for a particular constituency, the Returning Officers (ROs) of each individual polling station submits the Form-14 for their respective polling station. All Form-14s are put together and the results are then added together to bring about the overall result for the whole constituency. This final math is then put together in a separate form, known as Form-15.
So, why are these forms important?
In the recent JC probe, there were roughly around 44,339 polling that were asked to produce their Form-15s. Out of these, about 14,641 polling stations were found to have not even filed the forms. Hence, as simple logic would dictate, there is no formal document stipulating the actual results of that constituency. Therefore it is more than likely that these irregularities in documenting the results could have resulted in massive rigging.
The JC has started summoning returning officers over their alleged involvement in this so-called ‘systematic rigging’.