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KARACHI: Terming the recently held polls ‘worst rigged in history’, the Grand Democratic Alliance has rejected the 2018 elections and demanded re-election at least in Sindh.

The GDA maintained that the mandate of the people of Sindh had been stolen and as the rigging had made three state institutions controversial, it could be harmful for the country.

This stance was taken by GDA leaders including former National Assembly speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, former chief minister Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, Kishanchand Parwani, Arbab Zakaullah, Sardar Abdul Raheem and Naeem-ur-Rehman during a press conference here at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday.

Reiterating that they would observe a day of protest on Friday across the province, the leaders said that the Election Commission of Pakistan had totally failed to discharge its responsibility of holding free, fair and transparent elections.

Alliance leaders say mandate of people of Sindh has been stolen

Dr Fehmida Mirza said that the manner in which the polls were conducted in the province indicated that Sindh had been written off by all institutions responsible for conducting fair elections.

“Even media had ignored Sindh and focused only on major political parties, Centre and the Punjab,” she said, adding that the caretaker Sindh government was actually the continuation of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

She said that her constituency in Badin was very sensitive, but despite drawing attention the authorities concerned paid no heed towards her complaints.

She said that despite spending billions of rupees the ECP failed to play its due role. She alleged that her opponent in Badin was facilitated by posting officials belonging to his tribe who were not replaced despite her protest.

She waved some charred ballot papers which she said were found outside some polling stations. She said that her polling agents were forced out at the time of counting and doors were shut to stuff the boxes with ballot papers.

Appeal to CJP

She appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan that the judiciary was the last hope of the people to get justice and it would be harmful for the country if people were disappointed by the attitude adopted by returning officers and district returning officers in Sindh.

Former CM Ghaus Ali Shah said this time a new approach was applied to rig the election in Sindh.

He alleged that worst kind of rigging took place in the elections and the stories of all GDA candidates were no different from what Dr Mirza had narrated.

Good wishes for Imran

Mr Shah expressed good wishes for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and hoped that he would be able to eliminate corruption from the country.

Dr Zulfiqar Mirza said that in Sindh the elections were rigged under a calculated move and his family was targeted because he had exposed the “corruption of Asif Zardari and company”.

He said he was not the person to be cowed down by such tactics and he would continue to challenge Mr Zardari.

He said if corrupt persons were not held accountable it would be seen as a plot against Sindh.

Sardar Raheem said the mandate of the people of Sindh was stolen when polling agents were forced out and were deprived of Form 45.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018