LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ‘s former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry alleges that the Election Commission of Pakistan is working as a ‘PML-N wing’ to ensure rigging and adds that no action is being taken though the party has submitted constituency-wise complaints.
Speaking at a press conference flanked by former ministers Shaukat Tarin and Hammad Azhar and Sentaor Ejaz Chaudhry here on Saturday, Mr Chaudhry said the ECP delayed notification of five reserved seats MPAs for one month so that Hamza Shehbaz could sail smooth for the chief minister slot.
He said the ECP denied deputing polling agents from different constituencies and eventually the Lahore High Court allowed it. Still, he said, the ECP was not allowing [it] and committing contempt of court.
Mr Chaudhry alleged the police were harassing and arresting PTI workers.
Accuses ECP of working as PML-N wing; Tarin advocates charter of economy after general election
The former federal minister said the PTI was now riding a popular wave and would win at least 16 seats and topple the Hamza government.
When asked whether the political crisis would end if the PTI would win most seats in by-elections, Mr Chaudhry said the political crisis would not end even if Chaudhry Parvez Elahi became the chief minister. “The crisis will end only when the general elections will be held,” he added.
PTI central Punjab general secretary Hammad Azhar said the masses would take revenge of regime change by polling votes for “bat” on Sunday (today). He lamented that Aleem Khan and Asad Khokhar had yet again started the “money-politics” in Lahore, which had been eliminated after a lot of struggle. Senator Ejaz Chaudhry said the existing voter lists were replete with mistakes.
Former federal minister Shaukat Tarin chided finance minister Miftah Ismail for misquoting figures to fool masses. He said Miftah had himself signed the Economic Survey of Pakistan that explained there was highest 5.4 per cent and 6pc growth in economy during the last two years of the PTI government.
Owing to failed policies of the PML-N government, Mr Tarin regretted that it took the inflation rate to 33pc in three months and added that it would touch 40pc when the gas and power bills would be issued posting 45pc and 47pc increase.
Answering a question, he said, the new government and opposition after general elections should go for charter of economy.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at his house in Multan, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said it is the responsibility of ECP to ensure fair, free and peaceful by-election in Punjab. “The democratic system will collapse if anyone tried to rig the election.”
He also appealed to the PTI workers to remain peaceful during the conduct of election on Sunday (today) and said ECP should play its role in maintaining law and order.
He said former minister Abid Sher Ali, who belonged to Faisalabad, had been in Multan for one and a half months and [allegedly] using state machinery to rig the election. He said that they would not challenge the deployment of Rangers in election but the presence of Abid Sher Ali and interior minister Rana Sanaullah is questionable as the Rangers fall within the purview of the interior ministry.
Mr Qureshi said former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was also supporting his political opponent Salman Naeem.
“I would not have raised the issue had Mr Gilani canvassed for my son,” he said.
PTI central Punjab president Dr Yasmin Rashid said the PML-N had seen its defeat a writing on the wall and begun arresting PTI workers and particularly condemned the arrest of Khalid Sindhu.
Dr Rashid said the police tortured Sindhu, registered fake cases and kept him in illegal confinement to implicate him in a case of buying votes.
In a video message, Dr Rashid said all workers and voters should come out early and vote for “bat” to defeat the turncoats, who insulted their voters.
Parvez and Qaiser: National Assembly’s former speaker Asad Qaiser and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi have said the turncoats in the upcoming by-elections will face a crushing defeat as all “rigging plans” will be resisted.
It was stated when Mr Qaiser called on Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and former federal minister Moonis Elahi here on Saturday.
MNAs Hussain Elahi, Mahboob Shah, Humayun Khan, MPA Asif Nakai and others were present in the meeting that discussed Sunday’s by-elections and the political situation in Punjab.
Mr Elahi said July 17 would be the day of “victory of truth” and turncoats as well as bogus rulers would be sent packing. Now, he said, people had woken up and they could not be misled by fake announcements and gimmicks.
“Today is our test and even a tougher and bigger test for Election Commission as how it proves its impartiality,” he said and added that the ECP had a golden opportunity to prove its impartiality and wash away its past wrongdoings.
“We are forewarning the Election Commission [and asking it] to play its role according to the Constitution,” he added.
Mr Elahi said the PTI and PML-Q workers were on guard to stop rigging and added that the international media was not only keeping a close eye on the circumstances but its presence would also be seen at all polling stations.
Asad Qaiser said the decision of the people of Punjab on July 17 would be in favour of the PTI and added that Imran Khan’s successful rallies were a referendum against the rulers and the people of the province were ready to get rid of the “imported government”.
Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2022