PTI calls rejection of nomination papers ‘state terrorism’

Published December 31, 2023
PTI’s Ali Zafar and Gohar Khan speak to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan. — DawnNewsTV/File
PTI’s Ali Zafar and Gohar Khan speak to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan. — DawnNewsTV/File

• Omar Ayub alleges ‘status quo forces’ resorting to underhanded tactics
• Barrister Gohar says ECP failed to perform its constitutional duties

ISLAMABAD: The PTI decried on Saturday the rejection of the nomination papers of several of its election candidates, including Murad Saeed and Sahibzada Sibghatullah.

PTI’s Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan has branded these rejections as “politically motivated”, accusing the “forces of status quo” of resorting to underhanded tactics because they lacked the courage to face the PTI in a free and fair election.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Mr Ayub warned that such “pre-poll rigging” threatened the transparency of the election process, potentially exacerbating political instability and undermining national unity.

He condemned the rejection of the nomination papers of several PTI candidates, including Murad Saeed, Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Dr Amjad Khan, Fazal Hakim Khan, Mian Sharafat and Salimur Rahman.

“I had already predicted that ROs [returning officers] would reject PTI candidates’ nomination papers on flimsy grounds. More rejections of PTI candidates’ nomination papers by under-pressure ROs are expected. These ROs ‘software’ has been duly ‘updated,’” he said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.

He claimed that the forces of status quo represented by parties like the PML-N, PPP, JUI-F and MQM-Pakistan could not face the PTI in a free and fair election and were resorting to these tactics.

“These parties should have the courage to contest against PTI in a free and fair election so that a government emerges as per the will of the people that can steer the country out of its current nightmare,” he said.

Mr Ayub also reacted to the arrest of Umar Dar, the brother of former PTI leader Usman Dar, and described it as an “enforced disappearance”, linking it to a broader pattern of targeting PTI affiliates.

“He is Usman Dar’s brother who was himself an enforced disappearance until his forced interview was telecast.

He is the son of Rehana Dar sahiba, who has submitted her nomination papers from Sialkot to contest against [PML-N leader] Khawaja Asif,“ he added.

He said that Shaheed Maj Gen Sanaullah Khan’s brother, former DIG Rehmatullah Khan, and his other brother, Madad Khan, were also arrested in Mianwali.

‘Murder of democracy’

Meanwhile, PTI’s Central Informa­tion Secretary Raoof Hasan has also called on the Supreme Court to intervene, labelling the state’s interference in the election process as “open state terrorism”.

“The way the state apparatus, led by a disgraceful ECP and CEC, has first obstructed the submission of papers and then manoeuvred to have the nomination papers of PTI candidates rejected on fake and flimsy grounds speaks volumes of the fraudulent elections that we are headed for,” he said.

Mr Hasan lamented that the entire world was watching the “scene of the murder of democracy” at the hands of the state machinery in Pakistan.

“There is yet time to let sanity return to the fold and take steps to ensure the holding of free, fair and inclusive elections to facilitate a genuinely elected government, which is fully mandated by the people, to take over,” he urged.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Barrister Gohar Khan said, “Today [Saturday], the first step towards general elections (scrutiny of nomination forms for general seats) is coming to an end.

But up and down the country, the state machinery is in full swing against PTI’s candidates whose proposers and seconders or they themselves are being openly harassed, assaulted and pushed back from ROs’ offices.“

He pointed out that this was the worst kind of misuse of authority and abuse of process, as it was a flagrant failure of the ECP in performing its constitu-tional duties.

“We strongly condemn and deplore this,” he said, urging PTI workers and supporters to stay steadfast until Feb 8, the scheduled date for general elections.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2023

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