PESHAWAR: Workers of religio-political parties took to the streets in Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday to protest against alleged rigging in the general elections held on July 25.

Rallies were organised on the appeal of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the president of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of five religio-political parties.

Read: ANP to protest election ‘rigging’ across KP on Monday

Rallies were taken out in Dera Ismail Khan, Orakzai, Buner, Lakki Marwat, Mardan, Malakand, Battagram, Karak and Lower Dir.

Like other political parties, MMA was also humbled in the elections and its top leaders, including Fazlur Rehman and Sirajul Haq, the Jamaat-i-Islami chief, suffered defeat at the hands of PTI candidates.

Urges SC to take suo motu notice of ‘manipulation’ of poll results

The protesters blocked the Karakoram Highway, the land route between Pakistan and China, for traffic for more than five hours to protest against alleged rigging and manipulation of the election results.

Hundreds of activists of various religious parties took out a protest rally from a mosque in the Peshawar city that turned into a big public meeting at Bajauri Gate. The protesters were carrying placards and banners and chanted slogans against the Election Commission of Pakistan, caretaker setup and the other state institutions.

“The role of judiciary and the army has disturbed every Pakistani,” read a banner. Another read: “Save dignity of vote. We will not let the agent of Jews to be imposed on the nation,” referring to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.

Addressing the protesters, the speakers alleged that billions of rupees were wasted on the rigged elections. They said that judiciary should clear its position in that regard. They termed the polls a big fraud in the history of Pakistan as results were manipulated.

The speakers urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of what they said massive rigging in the elections. They alleged that foreign agenda was being imposed on the nation.

In Battagram, workers of Rah-i-Haq Party and MMA blocked Karakoram Highway to register their protest against the alleged fraud in the elections. The candidates who lost polls in the PK-29 constituency and their supporters led the rally, raising slogans.

Rah-i-Haq Party candidate for PK-29 Atta Mohammad, candidate for NA-12 Saeed Ahmed, MMA candidate for NA-12 Qari Mohammad Yusuf and independent candidate Maulana Rasheed Ahmed addressed the protesters.

Traffic remained disrupted for several hours on the busy highway.

The protest leaders said that Atta Mohammad was leading in PK-29 with 4,000 votes after counting of votes in 128 polling stations out of 149 stations, but suddenly results of other polling stations were stopped and were announced after two hours.

They said that they had recorded video footages as a proof of rigging and polling of bogus votes, adding while they were making videos officials tried to snatch their phones but they did not succeed.

They said that polling continued till 11pm at Trand Gidri polling station while at a polling station in Trand government high school it continued till 9.30pm. They said that they had already submitted an application to the RO for recounting of votes, but the authorities rejected their appeal.

In Lakki Marwat, the district chapter of JUI-F took out a rally in Naurang town to record their protest against alleged rigging in the elections.

A good number of activists participated in the rally. MNA-elect from NA-36 Maulana Mohammad Anwar, MNA-elect from NA-51 Mufti Abdul Shakoor and other leaders of JUI-F attended the rally.

They condemned the alleged rigging and said that mainstream leadership of the political parties was kept from the National Assembly under a conspiracy. They rejected the poll results and demanded re-election in a transparent and impartial manner.

In Buner, JUI-F workers staged a demonstration in front of the press club against the alleged rigging in the elections. The protesters said that they would not accept the poll results.

The speakers termed handing over of magisterial powers to the army on the polling day interference in the election process. They alleged that a western lobby was bent upon empowering Imran Khan, the PTI chief, to unleash liberalism and secularism in Pakistan.

In Timergara, MMA losing candidates Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, Maulana Asadullah, Muzafar Said and others rejected the results of the election and demanded of the ECP to hold re-polling on all constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The demand was made during different protest rallies at Chakdara and Talash which were attended by scores of MMA supporters.

The MMA candidates said that election was rigged and its results were made controversial.

Former provincial minister, Muzafar Said claimed that the returning officer was refusing to hand over form 45 to him. He said that religious parties were being deprived of their right to represent people in the parliament under a conspiracy.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018