PTI moves ECP against 'rigging' ahead of Punjab by-elections

Published July 13, 2022
PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry (left) and Omer Sarfraz Cheema address a press conference in Lahore on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry (left) and Omer Sarfraz Cheema address a press conference in Lahore on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

The PTI on Wednesday filed a petition in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against "pre-poll rigging" ahead of the by-elections on 20 Punjab Assembly seats scheduled for July 17.

The petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was filed by PTI's Omar Ayub Khan.

The petitioner stated that he was actively participating in campaigning for the upcoming polls when he observed "numerous irregularities and things that are impeding fair and impartial elections".

He highlighted that the electoral watchdog was bound to conduct free, fair and transparent election in accordance with the law.

Highlighting 19 constituencies where by-elections are to be conducted, he alleged that voter lists had been altered while voters had been "reshuffled" in violation of the Election Commission Act, 2017.

"One of the most egregious examples of their illegality is electoral roll/voters list of PP-140 Sheikhupura. In this constituency, final electoral roll/voters list issued, dated May 20, was after the announcement of [the] election schedule, which again is a violation of the law."

The petition stated that the total number of voters as per the lists issued in 2018 and 2020 was 2,239 and 2,875, respectively, which rose to 5,573 in May 2022.

"This sudden increase is ambiguous and casts serious doubts on the transparency of [the] upcoming by-elections."

The petitioner said that the way things stood in the province, "no free, fair, transparent or impartial elections" could be held. He alleged that officials, on the directives of the "acting government", were "taking notes and interfering" with the upcoming by-polls.

"A prime example is of DC Rajanpur, who can be seen campaigning with PML-N candidates which is a clear violation of both ethics and Section 187 of the Election Commission Act, 2017."

He also alleged that the Jhang district police officer had clearly been posted to commit "pre-poll rigging" while the government's candidate for PP-07 was offering bribes to voters in an effort to influence them.

'Govt shifting blame of pre-poll rigging onto establishment'

Addressing a press conference in Lahore later in the day, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry reiterated the party's claim that pre-poll rigging was being conducted prior to the by-polls.

He alleged that the party's candidates and workers were being harassed by the police, who were acting on the directives of the provincial government.

He claimed that the provincial government was trying to portray as though it was receiving "orders from above".

"The establishment should beware of the snakes up their sleeves such as Attaullah Tarar and Rana Sanaullah. They are carrying out [raids] and putting it on the establishment."

Fawad went on to claim that the government had planned pre-poll rigging in some areas and later tried to shift the blame onto the establishment.

The PTI leader stated that the party had approached the ECP for the disqualification of 19 candidates in the race who had been de-seated for defection. He expressed the hope that the petition would be taken up in a day or two.

"In this way, at least genuine PML-N candidates will participate on the election."

He also claimed that failure of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz's election campaign had forced the government to forfeit ministers in order to retain its hold over Lahore.

"Half the cabinet had to resign because no one was satisfied with Maryam's campaign."

Opinion

Editorial

Lurking militancy
Updated 23 Mar, 2023

Lurking militancy

Politicking on the issue of terrorism will only bring more harm to the country.
Disaster response
Updated 23 Mar, 2023

Disaster response

THE earthquake which struck Afghanistan and the northern parts of Pakistan late Tuesday, has come as a stark warning...
No interest
Updated 23 Mar, 2023

No interest

HOW high must promised returns be to encourage foreign investors to divert their dollars to Pakistan? Apparently,...
Vox populi
22 Mar, 2023

Vox populi

History will not judge kindly those who throw the laws of this land in the bin to keep just one man away from power.
Iraq’s wounds
22 Mar, 2023

Iraq’s wounds

TWO decades after the US military machine — aided by the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ — stormed into Iraq, ...
Mental health epidemic
22 Mar, 2023

Mental health epidemic

THERE are mounting stressors in the day-to-day existence of average Pakistanis. Rising inflation and unemployment...