QUETTA: The alliance of four nationalist parties has decided to continue its protest against the alleged manipulation of the February 8 general elections’ results.

The decision was taken on Monday in a meeting of alliance leaders — Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s Sardar Akhtar Mengal, National Party’s Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Hazara Democratic Party’s Abdul Khaliq Hazara and leaders of other parties.

After detailed discussions and deliberations, the meeting decided to continue the protests since the entire country has “rejected” the elections and results.

The alliance’s administrative coordination committee has been directed to convene a meeting immediately and chalk out future protest programmes.

Leaders claim institutions ‘throttled’ aspirations of people who voted

The decision to continue the protest camp outside the Quetta district returning officer (DRO) office was also made during the meeting.

The workers were instructed to continue protests and even expand them until those obstructing the democratic transfer power of the country were not held accountable for unconstitutional actions.

The meeting said the Feb 8 elections were “the most rigged, fraudulent, and manipulated” polls in history.

The process “mocked” the opinion of millions of Pakistani voters and has been denounced as a laughingstock worldwide.

The leaders said at a time when the country is facing profound challenges due to the “continuous disrespect of the Constitution and will of people”, the expectation was that elections would result in unbiased and transparent outcomes, as assured by the ECP and all relevant authorities.

It was hoped that a parliament genuinely representing the people would emerge after the elections.

Considering the internal and external conditions of the country, it was expected that newly elected representatives would work tirelessly in Pakistan’s interest and pull the country out of crises, the meeting noted.

The alliance leaders said people came out to choose their representatives on Feb 8 with great enthusiasm and fervour. Unfortunately, the institutions, bound by the Constitution and their oath not to interfere in the country’s politics, throttled the aspirations of the people.

This was done in such a manner that the entire country has been plunged into darkness.

The true servants of Pakistan, in defiance of the people’s decision, have “set up a market in the provincial and national assemblies” that every patriotic Pakistani has been left “astonished and dismayed”.

Not only the people of Pakistan but other democratic countries and institutions are also decrying the rigging, the leaders claimed.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2024

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