LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have agreed to scale down mutual tensions by withdrawing the allegations of vote buying and attack on election offices against each other in NA-127.

Representatives of both parties in the said constituency and the candidates of Punjab Assembly’s constituency PP-160 which falls under NA-127, have agreed on following the code of conduct issues by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The district monitoring officer had summoned the PML-N candidate Ataullah Tarar from NA-127, and the PPP candidate Mian Misbahur Rehman from PP-160 along with documentary proof of their allegations against each other on Monday.

Mr Tarar had alleged that the PPP workers were buying votes at an election office in PP-160, while the latter accused the PML-N candidate of forcibly entering the poll office and snatching various items, including some costly mobile phone sets from them.

‘Live up to your name’

Earlier, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman strongly denounced recurring attacks on PPP members across the country, particularly in Lahore’s NA-127 constituency ahead of the upcoming polls, and urged the ECP to “prioritise impartiality and non-discrimination in political processes”, calling for immediate action to address these concerns.

Ms Rehman, who is vice president of the party, stressed on “the importance of impartiality and non-discrimination among political parties” at a press conference here on Tuesday.

“Timely intervention and action are crucial, especially in the face of the recent attacks on PPP workers in different parts of the country. The ECP should take notice of the incidents along with action immediately,” she demanded.

“The ECP needs to live up to its name as it is the Election Commission of Pakistan, not of one party. No FIR has been registered yet for the attacks on the PPP’s office in NA-127,” she added.

She alleged that Lahore’s NA-127 constituency, from where PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is contesting the elections, has witnessed targeted attacks on workers by the supporters of Mr Tarar, including both his associates and the local police.

“Such assaults are unacceptable, and elections should not be marred by violence or coercion. The democratic process should allow people to make choices freely, without fear or intimidation,” she said.

On the occasion, she announced that 20 new people, including councillors and nazims formerly affiliated with PML-N and PTI, have joined the PPP.

The new members include Malik Sadiq, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who are former nazim and councillor of PML-N respectively, Haji Ikram who was previously affiliated with PTI, alongside Bashir Mughal, Tasleem Bano, Ashfaq Gujjar, Khalida Perveen, Rashida Bibi, Nawaz Butt, Chaudhry Khalid Gujjar, Muhammad Arshad, Munazza Begum, Jamil Tajir, Manzoor, Bilal, Haji Ghulam Nabi Virk, Prof Allama Muhammad Abidi and Haji Ghulam Rasool.

Additionally, All Pakistan Langah Jamaat Chairman Sardar Pir Bakhsh Langah declared support for Bilawal Bhutto in NA-127.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2024

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