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KARACHI: As the results of the general elections were announced, the political parties which lost raised their fingers at the way the polls were conducted while the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which clinched the major chunk of National Assembly seats, thanked the voters.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday, PML-N central leader Mushahidullah Khan said no political party, including the PML-N, was allowed to contest the elections on equal terms with the PTI.

“The institutions responsible for maintaining peace and guarding polling stations, in fact, took them over and rigged the polls,” he alleged.

“Our party (PML-N) has been targeted for last one year while Imran Khan was given a free hand. When they [institutions] found their strategy was not working, they took control of the process of election results,” he added.

Mushahidullah further said the PPP was allowed to win few seats so that it could not join hands with the PML-N. “Had PPP been pushed to the wall just like us, they would have surely joined hands with us,” he said.

‘PTI is the real representative of the city’

“Let me make it clear that we do not want to derail democracy and the electoral process, but a democracy should be run like a democracy.

“This is not the ’70s but 2018 when people can watch everything themselves how the results were manipulated. Our polling agents were locked inside a room and the ballot boxes were not opened in their presence.”

In reply to a question, the PML-N leader said his party was in consultation with different political parties and they would soon take a final decision about the election results.

“Whenever the elections were rigged, the security of the country was compromised. If the country faces any harm, those who rigged the elections will be responsible.”

Describing PTI leader Imran Khan, he said, “Imran is just a puppet. Winning 91,000 votes from NA-243 by him is a case of extreme rigging.

“The results of those constituencies from where the PTI was supposed to win were announced within two hours after end of polling time, while the election commission took more than 24 hours to announce the results from other Karachi constituencies.

“Imran and Sheikh Rashid are continuously thanking the umpire. Now, the entire nation knows who the umpire is and what role he played.”

In reply to another question, he said we would accept the result of the elections only after recounting of all the 270 constituencies.

While talking about the PPP, Mushahidullah said the party was a democratic party and the PML-N acknowledged its mandate.

Other party leaders who accompanied Mushahid on the occasion included Khawaja Tariq Nazeer and Ali Akbar Gujjar.

PTI thanks voters

Meanwhile, the PTI’s Karachi leadership, which met under the chairmanship of its president Firdous Shamim Naqvi at the party’s office on Friday, thanked the residents of the city for electing its candidates.

PTI’s elected candidates from the metropolis were present on the occasion.

They said those political parties which “looted” the city in the past would not be allowed to do the same.

“We are ready to solve the city’s problems and play our part in its development,” they pledged.

Talking to the media, Mr Naqvi termed the outcome of the elections much more than their expectations and said they had so far won 14 National Assembly seats out of 21 from the city. “It is indeed a major result for us,” he said.

Speaking about the Sindh Assembly where the PTI was in second place after the PPP, he said his party would extend full support to the PPP in the interest of the province.

When asked who would be PTI’s opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, he said, “Imran Khan will take that decision. We now have 30 MPAs unlike in the past when we had three. We now have a strong voice in the PA too.”

PTI Karachi’s secretary general Khurram Sher Zaman said PTI was the real representative of the city and it would fulfil all its commitments and promises.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018