LAHORE: Flanked by party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, PML-N’s Attaullah Tarar displays a document during their presser on Friday.—PPI
LAHORE: Flanked by party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, PML-N’s Attaullah Tarar displays a document during their presser on Friday.—PPI

• PTI alleges 85 of its National Assembly seats ‘stolen’
• PML-N accuses rival party of sharing fake Form 45s, indulging in ‘digital terrorism’
• ECP forms election tribunals to settle disputes in Sindh, Balochistan

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: The controversy over discrepancies between forms 45 and 47 deepened on Friday with PTI alleging that dozens of National Assembly seats had been stolen from it.

However, the PML-N rejected its rival’s claim accusing the PTI of sharing fake screenshots of Form-45 on social media.

Addressing the national and international media here to expose “mega polls robbery” and present solid, documented and undisputed evidences regarding alleged rigging, PTI leaders and candidates termed the elections the biggest vote fraud and a major assault on democracy. They claimed that PTI-backed candidates were clearly winning over 177 seats of National Assembly. However, they added, the party was deprived of 85 NA seats by stealing the public mandate in the “midnight robbery”.

PTI Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan said people pinned high hopes on the long-delayed elections that it would bring political and economic stability and help restore rule of law in the country.

However, he added, tragically it was one of the worst and biggest votes fraud inflicted on PTI, as the party was fraudulently deprived of its constitutional mandate.

He said PTI clinched around 177 NA seats as per Form 45; however, 85 seats were fraudulently snatched from the party. “The party is taking constitutional and legal steps in this regard,” he added.

He pointed out that the mega “polls theft” could be judged from the fact that there were shocking discrepancies between Form 45 and Form 47, besides large-scale discrepancies between the votes polled in the national as well as provincial assemblies, adding that in several constituencies, the rejected votes were more than the margin of victory between the candidates.

He said the party had verified data concerning 46 seats and is in the process of compiling information for the remaining 39 seats.

PTI leader Salman Akram Raja termed the “rigging” an assault on democracy. He went on to say that he was winning by a huge margin from Lahore’s NA-128 constituency before being thrown out of the RO office. He alleged that it was virtually a death to democracy because factitious results question on the utility of the expensive elections exercise if really public mandate was not accepted.

He alleged that “fictitious” Form 47s were created and Form 45s “tampered with”.

He asked: “What is the point in holding an election if you are going to create a result out of thin air?

PTI-backed candidate from Sialkot Rehana Dar said results were tampered with at the RO office to ensure Khawaja Asif’s (PML-N) victory, adding that she had decided to contest the election from Sialkot after police raided her house at the alleged behest of Khawaja Asif. She announced filing a case against District Police Officer (DPO) Iqbal Hassan for raiding her house.

Rehana Dar appealed to the ECP for the provision of justice like Nosheen Iftikhar in Daska.

She stated that she had all Form 45 documents, which validated her victory.

MNA from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Shandana Gulzar, said the robbery via Form 47 was in violation of Article 92 of the Elections Act, 2017. “We obtained 1.25 million votes in Karachi, yet we did not get a single seat. Similarly, the Jamaat-i-Islami grabbed 700,000 votes but did not get a single NA seat in the city,” she said.

Moreover, she said, the PTI-backed candidates got 13.6 million votes but were given 55 seats in Punjab. “This is a joke with the people of Pakistan,” she expre­ssed, displaying graphics on a screen.

She claimed that as per the results at 3am on February 9, the PTI had won 154 seats in the National Assembly, while PML-N and PPP had each got 47.

The PTI-backed candidates were winning 42 seats in KP, but they were given 37, she explained, adding that similarly, from Islamabad, they were winning all three seats that they were eventually robbed of. “In Punjab, we were winning 115 NA seats and only 55 have been given to us. And in Balochistan, we got four seats, but got one,” she added. Ms Gulzar claimed that the party secu­red victory on 7 NA seats but it was given only one seat in Balochistan.

‘N’ rejects PTI propaganda

Minutes before the PTI leaders’ news conference, PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb and Attau­llah Tarar while addressing a presser in Lahore lamented the propa­ganda on “non-definite results”.

They said if anyone had objections to the election results, he or she can approach the ECP.

Ms Aurangzeb mentioned that after the election results, when Form 45 was being compiled, this form had already been circulated on social media. Assumptions of victory were made based on merely six per cent of the results, she pointed out, alleging that in KP, ballot papers with the lion symbol were found in garbage bins.

She emphasised that no fraud took place in the Feb 8 polls; it merely took time for Form 45 to be completed. Ms Aurangzeb accused the PTI of sharing fake screenshots of Form-45s on social media.

Atta Tarar accused the PTI of committing “digital terrorism”. “The PTI is trying to derail democracy by doing digital terrorism,” he said, justifying the election results with the defeat of PML-N stalwarts.

“If there was rigging, how come Javed Latif, Rana Sanaullah, and Khawaja Saad Rafique lost?”

Election tribunals

The ECP established four election tribunals for Sindh and three for Balochistan for trial and disposal of petitions, concerning the general elections-2024.

According to the notification, for Revenue Division of Karachi, the tribunal comprising Justice Muhammad Karim Khan Agha and Justice Adnan Iqbal Chaudhry will hear the cases. Similarly, Justice Muhammad Iqbal will hear the petitions related to Sukkur and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions and Justice Amjad Ali will hear the petitions related to Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad divisions, whereas Justice Muhammad Saleem will hear the related pleas related to Larkana division.

In Balochistan, the election tribunal will consist of Abdullah Baloch (Tribunal-I), Justice Rozi Khan (Tribunal-II) and Justice Muhammad Amir Nawaz Rana (Tribunal-III).

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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