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PPP casts doubts about election fairness

Updated July 19, 2018


PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Peoples Party has cast doubts about the fairness of the July 25 elections over the alleged hurdles to campaigning.

“Only one political party is smoothly running election campaign, while the rest are facing hurdles to their campaigns and public meetings in the name of security reasons. All that has raised questions about the freeness and impartiality of the coming elections,” former PPP provincial president and PK-77, Peshawar, candidate Syed Zahir Ali Shah told reporters here.

The PPP leader said the Election Commission of Pakistan was bound by the law to provide a level-playing field to all candidates to smoothly run election campaign but it had miserably failed to do so.

Party leader Zahir Shah claims parties facing hurdles in campaign

He said his party won’t boycott elections despite facing hurdles and threats.

Mr Shah asked the ECP and caretaker government to show neutrality and provide security to all candidates irrespective of their political affiliations.

He said his party believed in the strengthening of democracy and therefore, it had taken part in polls even after the assassination of its leader, Benazir Bhutto, in an election rally.

The PPP leader said the complaints of rigging used to emerge after the announcement of election results but ironically, such complaints had begun to pour in this time around even before the elections were held.

He objected to the deployment of military personnel inside polling stations and said the government should avoid creating doubts about the impartiality of elections by empowering security personnel to intervene in the electoral process.

Mr Shah alleged that massive rigging was seen in the NA-4 Peshawar by-election in Oct 2017 and therefore, the people had serious reservations about the role of the ECP in the coming elections.

He warned that any attempt to change election results would harm the country’s interests as no one would accept those results.

The PPP leader demanded of the ECP to allow media to cover the polling process without restriction.

He asked PTI and former chief minister Pervez Khattak to publicly apologise for using derogatory language against the PPP activists during election campaign.

On the occasion, Jamiat Ulema Pakistan-Abulkhair provincial chief Syed Sibtain Gilani announced support for Syed Zahir in the election.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2018