Maryam Nawaz accuses 'agencies' of being involved in alleged rigging in Daska by-poll

Published February 24, 2021
Maryam Nawaz speaks to the media in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV
Maryam Nawaz speaks to the media in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV

The PML-N has submitted a petition to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), demanding a re-election in the entire NA-75 constituency instead of 20 polling stations, the party's vice president Maryam Nawaz told the media on Wednesday, adding that agencies falling under the premier were involved in the rigging.

While speaking to the media in Lahore, Maryam accused the ruling PTI of being involved in "very disciplined rigging", adding that voters had been "harassed" in order to discourage them from voting. She said that the assertions that the alleged rigging was done on a local level were not true.

"Agencies, which come under Imran Khan, the vote thief, were involved [in the rigging]," she claimed and warned that she will "expose the names" if the government does not come clean.

When that failed, Maryam said, polling stations were shut down "by design" and voting process was suspended for up to six hours in some places. She said that videos, which she herself had shared on Twitter, showed how people had break the door of a polling station.

"When [they saw] that despite this historic, blatant and naked rigging, PML-N was still in the lead, they kidnapped 20 officials in the garb of fog," she said. "This is not me saying this, Election Commission's press release is also saying it. It said that when they returned, results were altered.

"After this, how can I accept re-poll in 20 polling stations? [...] The vote of entire Daska was stolen, how can we accept this, we can't."

Maryam's statements come days after Prime Minister Imran Khan requested PTI's candidate from Daska to ask for re-polling in 20 polling stations, the results of which is being questioned by the PML-N and the ECP.

Last week, the ECP had said in a statement that it suspected that results of 20 polling stations was falsified.

In her media talk today, the PML-N's vice president also urged the ECP to ensure that action is taken against the officials who were allegedly involved in rigging.

The by-election in the NA-75 constituency was marred by violence after two people were killed and three others injured in a firing incident at a polling station in Daska.

Speaking at the presser, Maryam also condemned the rejection of PML-N's Pervaiz Rashid nomination papers for the Senate election, saying that "the whole world knows why he was rejected". She praised Rashid as a man who had "nothing but his respect, principles and struggle for democracy".

She also paid tribute to her cousin and PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz, who secured bail today in a money laundering case. Maryam said that Hamza had "sacrificed a lot" for the party and "didn't waver once" despite being imprisoned. She added that the "injustice" against Hamza and other PML-N leaders who are nominated in different cases did not bring any dividends for the government as the courts "couldn't find [any evidence of] corruption or wrongdoing". She also warned that such "injustice is not without consequences".

'Principled stance'

The PML-N leader, in response to a question, said that she had a "principled stance" regarding the government's proposed legislation to ensure show of hands during the Senate elections so that horse trading can be curbed.

"We received phone calls saying 'please sit with Imran Khan and pass this legislation' but we said no, we won't give him any relief," she told reporters. She claimed that the government was pushing for the legislation to "save its drowning ship" and that is why it promulgated an ordinance and later took the matter to the Supreme Court.

"If the Supreme Court gives Imran Khan any relief, Pakistan's people will consider it to be a biased decision," she said and asked why PM Imran had not thought about transparency in the last Senate election.

"If you (PM Imran) drag the Supreme Court into this and make it a party in this dirty political game, we will expose you," she warned.

"My principled stance on this is that the Parliament should debate on this because this is a constitutional clause so an amendment can only be introduced by the Parliament but not [by] this fake government," she declared.

In response to a question, she said that "if the establishment is not neutral, then it should be". At the same time, she said that the establishment "should not support a government that has made the lives of people difficult. It is not good for the institution."

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