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PML-N sets up ‘anti-rigging cell’

Updated July 10, 2018

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LAHORE: For the first time the PML-N has set up a cell in Lahore to record complaints regarding pre-poll and polling-day rigging ahead of July 25 elections.

The PML-N has decided to form the anti-rigging cell on the direction of PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif after receiving pre-poll rigging complaints from some of its candidates.

“The PML-N has established an anti-rigging cell in the party secretariat in Model Town, Lahore, that will not only record complaints during the elections but also refer the same in real time to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the media and international observers,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurenzeb told Dawn here on Monday.

“The cell comprises a team of lawyers and senior leaders like former law minister Zahid Hamid and Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed are part of it. It has become functional and in a couple of days we will also give a UAN (universal access number) so that our candidates, party men and voters send us complaints. After receiving complaints the cell will not only issue the names – of government officials or private persons (involved in rigging)– but also lodge a strong protest in this regard,” Ms Auranzeb said.

“Pre-poll rigging is already underway. Numerous incidents have been reported, especially in Punjab, in which our candidates are harassed,” she said, citing the latest incident of PML-N workers alleged harassment by Punjab Highways Petrol Police DIG Suhail Sukhera.

“Suhail Sukhera is harassing our party workers in the constituency of Hamza Shahbaz (NA-124) where his (Mr Sukhera’s) close relative is contesting against him (Mr Hamza) from the platform of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ((Nauman Qasar),” she said.

However, Mr Sukhera told Dawn that he had got nothing to do with the election in NA-124. “Although a relative of mine is contesting election there, such allegations have no basis as I am not even posted at Lahore,” he said.

The former information minister further said it was the duty of the ECP and the caretaker government to ensure free and fair elections. “Rigging-free polls are in the best interest of Pakistan. All parties should be given level playing field in the July 25 polls,” she said.

Talking about the party’s preparations to welcome Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, she said: “Nawaz Sharif’s homecoming will be a historic event. The PML-N workers from across the country will gather at the Lahore airport to welcome him (on Friday),” she said, adding it would be completely peaceful.

She said Mr Sharif was returning to the country to ensure “respect for the ballot” and regretted the “attack” on the ousted premier in London, in which, she alleged, some PTI workers were involved.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018