Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday criticised the country's bureaucracy and establishment for allegedly controlling electoral results.
Addressing an Ulema convention in Quetta, the JUI-F chief said: "When elections arrive, our country's system, bureaucracy and establishment keep control of electoral results in their hands so the Western world can be told to not worry about religious people — [that] they have at most 12-14 seats and they don't have support among Pakistan's people."
He alleged that for the above reason, "they (bureaucracy and the establishment) carry out rigging".
"This time we have taken notice of this. We always knew about this but this time we took notice [of that rigging]. [We] took such notice that the JUI carried out '14 million marches' in all the country and then lastly did the 'Azadi March'.
"The participation of the public in hundreds and thousands [in our marches] sent the world this message that the establishment gives wrong reporting to you by doing rigging. This is the real power of the JUI," Rehman said.
The JUI-F chief termed July 25, 2018, as a "black day" when, according to him, the general elections were rigged. "Yesterday was [also] a 'black day' of Pakistan's history on November 17 when  bills were passed in the parliament within an hour with rowdiness [and] shamelessness," he added.
"The criminal standing behind the incident [of rigging] of that time (2018) is the same one standing behind this incident (bulldozing of amendments in the joint parliament session)."
He said movements for the supremacy of democracy were being launched since the time of General Ziaul Haq. "But why aren't we getting results? Because despite that, the grip of non-democratic forces over us continues to get stronger," Rehman said.
The JUI-F chief noted that one day, "the real root of the problem" would have to be considered and then with "great bravery we will have to decide if the rule is in their hands and our rule is on their mercy then we don't want power from their hands".
"First we will fight for our country's freedom. When the country is freed and democracy completed," then any resulting arrival to power would be acceptable, Rehman said.
He questioned what kind of "joke" was being played with the country, Constitution, democracy and parliament.
"Do you think it will be easy for you to do whatever you want? Even if the entire opposition submits before you, the JUI will proudly challenge this corruption."
Rehman said the country was no one's property and would be run according to "our will [and] the Constitution".
On Wednesday (yesterday), the government had managed to bulldoze amendments to the Elections Act, 2017, in the joint session of parliament, thereby allowing the use of electronic voting machines and granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.
Rejecting the legislation, Rehman had called upon institutions to "stay within their constitutional limits" and "not interfere" in the working of other institutions.
On Tuesday, the JUI-F chief had questioned who was actually behind the government. The Maulana had said that the government “is not running, it is being run. We know those who are running the government and who is being run. We have a lot to say but we are reluctant to say anything in order to save the country’s conditions from worsening.”
While addressing a rally of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement in Karachi on Saturday, Rehman had urged the country's institutions to "repent on past mistakes, reassess their role and ask the nation for forgiveness".
"They should look at their mistakes in the past, self reflect, express shame on what they have done and ask for forgiveness from the people," he had said.