KARACHI: A day after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan held the Pakistan Peoples Party responsible for ‘unjust and illegal’ local government elections in Karachi, opposition Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Wednesday accused the ruling PPP of “manipulating results and changing original vote-count through returning officers” and vowed to continue their protests and struggle till the fair announcement of final election results.

The JI warned the Sindh government of expanding its protest and launching a ‘massive’ public drive if the situation did not improve.

“On one hand the chief minister calls and assures us to address grievances and the PPP leadership extends offer for a dialogue, but, on the other, the whole provincial administration is being used to manipulate the results by post-poll rigging,” JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman told a press conference.

“We can’t accept this double standard. After our legal battle for the UCs where the PPP were illegally declared winners, whole administration is being used in the name of recount and our candidates are being declared defeated through this process.”

Ali Zaidi says he is in touch with Jamaat over mayor’s election

He announced that a rally on Friday would be led by party chief Sirajul Haq on New M.A Jinnah Road in order to build a momentum against the “lawlessness of the PPP with the connivance of the provincial administration”.

A campaign for “mass contact with the Karachiites” was being launched on Thursday to make citizens aware about the “post poll rigging”, he added.

PTI protest drive

Former federal minister and PTI Sindh chapter president Ali Zaidi ruled out any possibility of calling off protests and vowed to expand it across the city.

Apart from Karachi and Hyderabad, he also referred to “rigging” in other parts of the province where local government elections were held on January 15.

“The forms and data collected by us, clearly show that PTI was targeted even though JI was also a victim, but not on the same scale as us,” he said while addressing a press conference.

“The situation is tense in Mehar, Dadu, where PTI has won nine out of 14 wards. But the PPP is trying to steal our mandate. The ‘Zardari Mafia’ is using police for political victimisation. Similarly, here in Karachi no rational person would accept the results. I’m receiving phone calls from the diplomatic community wondering how PPP could win in Karachi,” he said.

“By manipulating the public mandate in Karachi,” he added, the “political engineers are damaging Pakistan as the city is the economic lifeline of the country”.

The PTI Sindh chapter president warned of strong reaction from the people of Karachi, if any local government which doesn’t represent their true mandate came into being.

“I am in constant touch with JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem over the rigging issue. We don’t want any violence or law and order situation to arise.

“Our workers are peaceful and only staging protest for their due right. We cannot let the PPP snatch our mandate,” added Mr Zaidi.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2023

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