LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Secretary General Asad Umer alleges that the PML-N has begun rigging by announcing and doing development works in 20 by-election constituencies in the province.

Speaking to media persons after visiting three by-election constituencies in Lahore on Monday, Mr Umer said the nation was standing with party chairman Imran Khan and showed this strength in the PTI public meeting in the parade ground in Islamabad.

Referring to Maryam Nawaz’ statement that CM Hamza Shehbaz had given [Punjab] history’s biggest relief package of 100 free electricity units to lifeline consumers, Mr Umer said the real and biggest relief package was given by the PTI government in terms of health card.

He said Hamza Shehbaz would be ousted from the government with the support of people on July 22 and added that he had seen public sentiments against the PML-N that had financially murdered the masses by raising petrol prices to Rs250 per litre.

“The public has decided that it would not accept the imported government and send it home on the day of by-elections on July 17,” he added.

The PTI secretary-general said the Election Commission of Pakistan had yet not issued the notification of five reserved seats in Punjab.

PTI by-election candidate Mian Akram Usman and party leaders were present at the media talk.

Meanwhile, opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Sibtain Khan said the announcement of free electricity units for the poorer of the poor was nothing but jugglery as even those using two lights would cross 100 units and forced to pay the full bill.

“If the PML-N government wants to give relief to the masses, it should raise the free electricity units bar from 100 units to 300 or 500 units,” Mr Khan said and added that it should give relief to the farmers.

He also said that the announcement of relief package after the scheduling of by-election was a violation of code of conduct and the chief election commissioner should take notice.

Mr Khan said the PML-N after taking over the government got busy in managing the Sharif family’s cases in the NAB and FIA.

Former Punjab minister and PTI leader Mian Aslam Iqbal claims that the Hamza government has violated the recent Supreme Court verdict on CM’ election by announcing the relief package describing it pre-poll rigging as it comes two weeks before the by-election for 20 Punjab Assembly seats, he said the package is also unconstitutional as it has been announced without a formal approval by the cabinet. “The apex court has already declared that government means cabinet and not prime minister or chief minister, whatever the case.”

He says that Hamza Shehbaz had earlier committed a similar violation by announcing flour subsidy without a formal nod of the provincial cabinet.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

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