ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to hold protests outside the offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) throughout the country on Tuesday (tomorrow) against the chief election commissioner (CEC) for his alleged biased behaviour.

On the other hand, responding to PTI chairman Imran Khan’s demand for resignation, CEC Sikander Sultan Raja said he had no intentions of doing so and that he would continue working in the best interests of the country.

The announcement about holding protests outside the ECP offices was made by PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on his Twitter handle.

In his tweet, the former information minister said PTI’s political committee, in its meeting on Sunday, had taken up issues related to the ECP.

Accusing the CEC of being “partisan and dishonest”, Mr Chaudhry said the ECP was not de-notifying membership of the party’s dissident legislators.

CEC refuses to step down, sees ‘no valid reason’ to resign

“Therefore, PTI will hold protests throughout the country in front of the ECP offices on April 26 against the behaviour of the CEC. Directions are being issued to all district organisations of the PTI in this regard,” he said in his tweet.

During a press conference in Bani Gala on April 23, former PM Imran Khan had also accused the CEC of being biased and demanded his resignation.

Earlier, Mr Khan had announced that the PTI would file a reference against Mr Raja as he had failed to carry out delimitation of constituencies on time.

However, at a news channel, CEC Sikander Sultan Raja said there was no valid reason for him to tender his resignation.

Meanwhile, the PTI on Sunday held the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz responsible for the rising electricity loadshedding in the country, claiming that the government had failed to clear dues of Sahiwal coal-fired power plant.

In his tweet, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said that during the last two weeks, payments were not made to the Sahiwal coal-fired power plant despite warnings.

“Since payments had not been released, the plant is being run at 50pc capacity because it did not have the funds to buy imported coal,” he claimed.

Mr Azhar also accused the government of creating shortage of diesel, especially in the rural areas.

He said when the PTI left government, the country had a stock of 32 days, but the current set-up had failed to maintain it, which had led to hoarding of diesel.

On the other hand, former planning and development minister Asad Umar said when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, he had stated that if it was proved that there was any interference, he (Shehbaz) would be standing along with Imran Khan.

“The National Security Committee (NSC) has twice confirmed that there was interference. Imran Khan will not allow you to stand with him; you should just leave the PM’s chair and call elections,” Mr Umar said on his Twitter handle.

Similarly, PTI information secretary Farrukh Habib, who had served as the minister of state for information in the previous PTI government, said the NSC had confirmed that there was foreign interference and that former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had not tampered with the letter.

He claimed that no-confidence motion was mentioned a number of times in the letter and demanded that an independent commission be formed and open hearings held on the issue.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2022

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