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KARACHI, May 14: The Pakistan Muslim League-Functional has announced that it will observe a protest day on May 16 across Sindh against vote rigging in the May 11 elections and demanded that the results of those eight constituencies of the National Assembly and 27 of the Sindh Assembly, which were pointed out to the commission with proof of unprecedented rigging, should not be notified until the thumb impressions of the voters were verified.

He also said that on the protest day besides staging sit-ins in other parts of Sindh people would also stage a sit-in in front of the election commission office and at the Teen Talwar roundabout.

Giving an example of the alleged rigging, Sindh PML-F general secretary Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said the candidates who were leading with a large margin until late Saturday night were found changed on Sunday morning. Mr Shaikh was speaking at a press conference at the party office on Tuesday evening accompanied by Ghaus Bux Mahar, Faqir Jadam Mangrio, Yasir Sain, Khuda Bux Rajar, Kamran Tessori, Qasim Soomro, Sardar Rahim and other candidates of the party.

According to the results declared by the Election Commission of Pakistan till Tuesday evening, the PML-F has bagged four National Assembly seats and six Sindh Assembly seats.

Accusing the caretaker government and the administration, including the Rangers, of being fully involved in the rigging, he said the party had rejected the controversial elections. He recalled that despite repeated forewarning about vote rigging the election commission did not pay any heed to the issue and as a result the supposed transparent elections turned out to be the most controversial ones and now entire Sindh was up in protest.

Mr Sheikh appealed to the business community and transporters that on the protest day, May 16, they keep their entire businesses closed and keep all vehicles off the roads.

Jamaat-i-Islami The Jamaat-i-Islami has announced that the party would approach the Supreme Court to retrieve the “hijacked mandate” of the people by seeking re-polling in Karachi and Hyderabad under the supervision of the army as “the people of Karachi did not accept the results of the fake polling”.

This demand was made by JI leaders Muhammad Hussain Mehanti, Dr Mairajul Huda Siddiqui, Nasim Siddiqui, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, Nasrullah Shaji and others while speaking at a sit-in of the party workers staged near the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam.

Terming the May 11 elections “managed polls” by the MQM with the connivance of election commission staff, Mr Mehanti said that through stamping snatched ballot papers most MQM candidates polled over 100,000 votes.

He said the Saturday elections were fake whose results had been rejected by all parties.

The chief election commissioner also disappointed the people of Karachi as “it miserably failed to free the commission from MQM clutches”.

Dr Siddiqui said the MQM had once again made an attempt to impose its fake mandate on the people of Karachi, but its ‘topi drama’ would not be allowed to succeed.