ISLAMABAD: In a press conference on Monday, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said the election tribunal's decision to hold a re-election in NA-125 and PP-155 was a result of his party's 126-day dharna and constant struggle for transparency.
The PTI chief said had it not been for his party's protests on the streets, such decisions would not have been possible.
"This decision is also a result of Hamid Khan's two-year-long efforts. You can imagine how tedious the process would be for an average person with minimal resources."
Reading out the tribunal's short order, Imran Khan said, "According to reports from NADRA, on average, each voter voted six times in NA-125."
"The short order says some bags were ripped open using a sharp object; there should be no doubt in anyone's mind now on rigging in the 2013 general election."
Slamming Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique for his statements after the tribunal's decision, Imran Khan said:
"How can he say that he is being blamed for the returning officers' negligence. The short order clearly says that bags were ripped open and that each voter voted six times on average. This is rigging right in front of you."
During the press conference, Khan referred to Khawaja Saad Rafique as a "stranger in the House for two years."
"At this rate I believe soon the prime minster will also be a stranger in the house," said the PTI chief.
Imran Khan also questioned NADRA on why it did not release a forensic report on NA-122 — the constituency where he was defeated by PML-N's Ayaz Sadiq — that he said was due last week.
"I will go to NADRA's chief to ask him why the report is not being released."
Khan said his struggle had started bearing fruit, adding that in tomorrow's hearing with the judicial commission probing the 2013 general election, his party will argue that a re-election not be held in NA-125 unless the presiding officers and returning officers are held accountable for their negligence.
"This is the only way to find the real culprits behind an unfair election."
Imran Khan said the tribunal had done its job by declaring the election in NA-125 as void and that it was up to the judicial commission to ascertain who organised the rigging.
He said in the coming days, other election tribunal decisions will clear further doubts by corroborating his party's stance that the 2013 general election was rigged.
"Now tell me; was I not right in crying foul?"
Responding to a question on the PML-N's victory in cantonment board elections (which also included parts of NA-125) recently, Imran Khan said, “Do not compare local government elections with the general election.
“In 2008 the PML-Q was in power at the local level, yet PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique won the seat in the general election.”
Saad Rafique's response to Imran Khan
In his second address to media personnel today, called especially to "clarify some points made by Imran Khan," Khawaja Saad Rafique said if the tribunal had found him guilty of rigging, it would have disqualified him.
Rafique asked Imran Khan to make public NADRA's report that said each voter had, on average, voted six times. "If this is true, we don't have a case; these are all lies."
|Khawaja Saad Rafique responding to Imran Khan's press conference.- DawnNews screengrab|
Commenting on Imran Khan's remarks with regards to the recent cantonment board elections, Rafique said disregarding cantonment results was an absurdity.
"Were the elections held on a non-party basis? It was PTI versus the PML-N and we bagged 15 out of a total 20 seats in the cantonment elections held in NA-125," said Rafique.
"The respected judges did not disqualify me because in their judgment they say that rigging has not been proven," said Rafique. "The tribunal also said there were no reports or evidence pointing towards harassment or use of threats," said the PML-N leader.
Saad Rafique also retorted to Imran Khan calling him a stranger in the House for two years. "Mr Khan, if I am stranger despite receiving 123,000 votes, what do you have to say about yourself and your MNAs who resigned from the National Assembly in front of the entire world."
"Are you not a stranger in the House?" Rafique asked Imran Khan. "We have tolerated strangers in the House so that the wheels of democracy continue turning."
Rafique reciprocated his earlier statement that his voters are being punished for mistakes committed by a few presiding officers and the Returning Officer.
He challenged Imran Khan to personally conduct his party's election campaign from NA-125 if and when a re-election is held.
"You will face the same fate you did in Karachi's NA-246," remarked Rafique.