Wajihuddin Ahmed (R), a presidential candidate of PTI addresses a press conference along with party chairman, Imran Khan (C). -Photo by AFP
ISLAMABAD, July 26: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has decided to take part in the presidential election, refusing to side with the PPP in its boycott of the process.
PTI chief Imran Khan, speaking at a press conference at the party’s secretariat, said his party had decided to go ahead with the presidential election so as not to give a walkover to the ruling party’s candidate.
Imran Khan, who returned two days ago from London, said it was a hard decision because the PPP had a point in its call for boycott of the election.
Clarifying the party position, Mr Khan said after consulting legal experts on the Supreme Court’s decision to change the date for election from Aug 6 to July 30, “we have reached the conclusion that there is no legal glitch. Hence Justice (retired) Wajihuddin Ahmed will contest the election.”
Justice Ahmed blamed the Election Commission, instead of the Supreme Court, for the election date controversy. He said constitutionally speaking, the ECP had a window of 30 days to carry out the election process, but since it didn’t utilise it adequately, interested candidates felt free to run their campaigns.
Asking the PPP, ANP and PML-Q leaders to vote for him, Justice Ahmed said: “I urge all these parties not to let this opportunity slip though their hands and take part in the election process and vote against the PML-N candidate.”
The Awami National Party and the PML-Q have expressed support for the boycott call given by their former ruling coalition partner in the centre.
Since the election will be conducted through secret ballot, legislators can listen to their conscience without fear of reprisal from their party leaders, the retired judge said.
Imran Khan was hopeful that voters would at least give weight to Justice Ahmed’s unblemished record before casting their vote on July 30. The PTI chief recalled that Wajihuddin Ahmed refused to accept General Pervez Musharraf’s takeover in 1999 and resigned.
PROTEST: The PTI chief once again reiterated his call for a countrywide street march after Ramazan if the SC and ECP didn’t “listen to the party’s call for biometric-based investigation of votes in four constituencies”.
“Our petition is already lying with the SC in which the party has asked for investigation since it has enough evidence to prove that the May 11 elections were rigged.
“I am not for derailing the present government, but I want to ensure that in future no sham elections are held. My party will not go back on its demand for investigation,” the PTI chief asserted.
When Justice Ahmed was asked if he endorsed Mr Khan’s critical views against the SC and the ECP, the PTI’s presidential candidate said he not only endorsed the stance but would also call upon the SC to accept his party’s demand for a fresh scrutiny of votes. “I must say the May 11 elections were worst in terms of rigging and mismanagement. The PTI has accepted election results, but not election rigging,” he said.