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LAHORE, May 21: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and supporters on Tuesday staged a demonstration against alleged rigging in the general election and Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) ‘indifference’ to the rigging complaints.

A large number of PTI supporters from all walks of life staged a protest demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club and raised slogans like “We want justice”.

The protesters led by PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry, general secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid, provincial parliamentary leader Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed and party’s Lahore president Abdul Aleem Khan showed their resentment to ECP’s cold shoulder to party complaints against rigging in the May 11 general election. They raised slogans against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain for his alleged involvement in the killing of PTI leader Zehra Shahid Hussain in Karachi a couple of days ago.

Speaking to the protesters, Qureshi said PTI as well as other political parties complained to the authorities about rigging in the general election and they were not ready to accept election results. He said the Pakistani nation was not satisfied with the election results, as it felt cheated. He said people believed that election results did not reflect PTI’s successful election campaign and huge turnout at its public gatherings. He said people believed that injustice had been done to them and they were questioning ECP’s silence at rigging complaints. “We will not allow anyone to rob people of their mandate. If we will keep silence, people will lose trust in the election,” he observed.

The PTI vice-chairman said party workers and supporters would gather in large numbers in Islamabad on May 24 to exercise their democratic and constitutional right to show resentment at election results.

“After recount of votes in certain constituencies, if PTI’s charges about rigging are proven, these protests will be justified otherwise the party will accept the mandate,” he said. He said the PTI had emerged as the second largest political party in terms of vote despite all ‘hurdles’ created in its way during the election. He said the PTI would play its role as opposition effectively and would defy the term “friendly opposition”.

PTI Punjab general secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid criticised the ECP for being partisan and not listening to complaints filed by defeated candidates. She said the ECP needed to protect voters’ rights.

She said ECP’s credibility was at stake and the only way to save it was ordering recount of votes in the four selected constituencies. After Nadra had given its consent, she said, recount of votes with verification of voters’ thumb impressions could be done on ECP’s orders. “It is surprising that what was stopping the ECP from doing the right thing?” she asked.

PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry said party chairman Imran Khan would be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday (today) and he would be among them in the protests against rigging. He said justice could only be done by recounting votes and verifying thumb impressions.