The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday rejected the nomination papers of PML-N leader and former information minister, Pervaiz Rasheed, for a Senate seat from Punjab.
A day earlier, Rasheed was told that he was a defaulter of the Punjab House in Islamabad and his nomination would be accepted only after he cleared the dues.
On Thursday, the retuning officer accepted the objection to Rasheed's nomination and said that he failed to provide evidence regarding having cleared the dues.
Speaking to the media in Lahore, the PML-N leader termed the development an "engineered attempt" to keep him from contesting Senate polls.
"A so-called demand was created about which I was not informed. When I tried to fulfill this demand by paying the outstanding amount and exercising my right to participate in the polls, all government officials disappeared from their seats and offices.
"They are not giving their bank account number nor are they taking cash," he said, adding that the ruling-PTI was inventing "fake" cases to incarcerate opposition leaders.
He claimed government officials were not ready to accept the payment as they had been given directives by Prime Minister Imran Khan so that he could be stopped from contesting the polls on "technical grounds".
He maintained that it was his legal right to appeal the ECP's decision. "You can close the doors of parliament for me but you cannot silence my voice," he said.
In 2018, the Punjab government had released a list of 76 politicians, bureaucrats and others for defaulting on the payment for their stay and meals at Punjab House in Islamabad.
According to the list at the time, Rasheed owed Rs7.05m, including Rs0.69m charges for his stay from January to August in 2011 and Rs6.4m for his stay between June 2013 and May 2018. His daughter Poonam Rasheed owed Rs2.7m.