Batons, teargas used to disperse PTI protests against ‘rigging’

Published February 11, 2024
KARACHI: Supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami and PTI hold a protest demonstration against delay in the announcement of poll results and alleged rigging outside the provincial election commission office, on Saturday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
KARACHI: Supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami and PTI hold a protest demonstration against delay in the announcement of poll results and alleged rigging outside the provincial election commission office, on Saturday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

ISLAMABAD / KARACHI / PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers on Saturday held protests across the country against, what they termed, rigging in the general election, facing teargas and baton charge in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and Punjab.

About 2,000 workers of the PTI took to the streets in Peshawar on Saturday as they continued their protest for the second day against alleged rigging in the general election while in Karachi the party workers joined the activists of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) in a joint sit-in.

On the other hand, the PTI central leadership in Islamabad called the party workers to hold peaceful protests outside the offices of returning officers (ROs) and also announced to hold intraparty election soon. The announcements were made by PTI leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan along with Senator Walid Iqbal and PTI Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan in a news conference in Islamabad.

Mr Khan claimed that the PTI had emerged as the lead political party to comfortably form independent governments in the Centre, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab as the people had given their clear verdict that “slavery is unacceptable”.

Party leadership gives call for peaceful protests, announces intraparty poll; PTI, TLP, JI hold joint sit-in in Karachi

“As per law, the final result is extracted from Form 45 and we have received all the results,” he said, adding that the final results should be announced at the earliest or else the PTI would stage peaceful but strong protests with Pakistani flags outside the offices of the returning officers (ROs) at the constituencies where results were either withheld and delayed or tampered with.

“The workers are requested that protest is a right but it should be peaceful,” Gohar Khan said.

“According to Imran Khan’s instructions, the areas in which our results were withheld and delayed — we will share that list with you — and intentionally our majority is being converted into minority by turning a winning seat into a defeat,” he stated.

In Karachi, in a rare consensus, the PTI, JI and TLP together staged a sit-in outside the ECP Sindh office in protest against, what they termed, the rigged election.

Separate calls from the parties finally led to joint protest after a brief showdown at the Numaish intersection when the TLP rally, marching to join the joint protest, faced teargas and police baton charge. The police action, however, failed to stop the charged workers from reaching the protest site where they joined the PTI and JI workers.

The leaders of the three parties agreed that the ECP had failed to do its job and also accused the caretaker administration for ‘supporting’ the ‘forces of evil’ in the general election. The JI and PTI called off the protest at the sunset but the TLP continued the sit-in demanding release of its workers detained by police.

In another development, the JUI-F announced to ‘launch a protest campaign’ from Sunday (today) against the ‘rigging,’ asking the workers to stage a sit-in on the main highways across Sindh and block the key road links of the province.

In Peshawar, the PTI workers continued their sit-in for the second day on Charsadda Road against the alleged rigging in PK-82 election. Also, ex-minister Taimoor Jhagra addressed a press conference against, what he termed, manipulation of election results in Peshawar. “Our results have been changed,” claimed 28-year-old shopkeeper Muhammad Saleem, who joined around 2,000 PTI supporters marching in Peshawar.

“The government should recount all of our votes.”

In Punjab, Kharian and Sara-i-Alamgir police near Gujrat booked 100 PTI workers for blocking GT Road.

Police used teargas shells to disperse the protesting PTI-backed candidates and their supporters outside the RO office in the Talagang area of Chakwal against the alleged rigging in the polls. The local PTI leadership alleged police beat some workers with sticks and tortured them before arresting them.

Two PTI-backed candidates, Nisar Ahmed and Surkhru, had come to the RO office to get certified copies of the results but they were told that the RO was not present.

The PTI workers lodged a strong protest and started chanting slogans. In the meantime, heavy contingents of police and Rangers were called in. When the protesters refused to leave the premises, the police personnel started a baton charge and fired teargas on them. The PTI’s Talagang president Nisar Ahmed alleged that scores of workers had been arrested by police.

Our correspondent in Chakwal also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2024

Opinion

In defamation’s name

In defamation’s name

It provides yet more proof that the undergirding logic of public authority in Pakistan is legal and extra-legal coercion rather than legitimised consent.

Editorial

Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...
ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...