KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami and Grand Democratic Alliance have agreed to launch a ‘joint struggle’ against the alleged rigging in the general elections, it emerged on Wednesday.

It was also decided that if the Sindh Assembly session for oath taking of the newly elected members was announced suddenly, the workers and supporters of the three parties would launch a joint protest across the province on that day.

On Wednesday afternoon, PTI Sindh chapter president Haleem Adil Sheikh and JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman with their delegations met GDA chief coordinator Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi at his residence and deliberated upon the prospects of a joint protest against the ‘bogus’ elections.

Speaking to Dawn, GDA information secretary Sardar Abdur Rahim said that the three party leaders discussed at length the current political situation and the ‘fraudulent’ elections in relation with mutual cooperation among the parties.

Sadruddin Shah Rashidi invites Haleem Adil, Hafiz Naeem to finalise protest strategy tomorrow

He said that the three parties decided to put up a strong fight against the ‘rigged’ elections.

“Syed Sadruddin Shah Rashidi has invited the leaders to attend a meeting of GDA on February 23,” he said adding that important decisions regarding the strategy of the protest would be taken in the meeting.

He said the meeting participants considered that the caretaker government and the Election Commission of Pakistan were in a state of ‘confusion’ due to the opposition’s hard-line protest.

The GDA leader said that there was a possibility that the Sindh Assembly session for oath taking of newly elected members could be announced shortly.

“In this case, the leaders agreed in the meeting that workers and supporters of the three parties will launch joint protests across the province on that day,” he added.

Sardar Rahim added that a final announcement of the protest would be made after discussion in Feb 23 meeting.

Earlier late on Tuesday, a PTI delegation led by its Sindh chapter president Haleem Adil Sheikh visited JI headquarters in Karachi, Idara Noor-i-Haq, where the two sides agreed on the demand to declare elections results as per Form-45.

The JI team led by Hafiz Naeem assured the PTI leaders that it would stand by its demand and make every effort within the parameters of Constitution of the country and law to raise voice for justice.

“On Feb 8, the people of Karachi voted only for two parties — the PTI and the Jamaat-i-Islami,” said Hafiz Naeem after the meeting with the PTI delegation.

“There was no third party on the ground in the contest. But it is an irony that those who had been rejected by the people of Karachi have been imposed again only for vested interests of certain quarters. We reject these results and demand the declaration of fresh results as per Form-45.”

The PTI hailed the ‘gesture’ of JI’s Hafiz Naeem for ‘throwing first stone’ which highlighted the rigging and helped building a narrative against the ‘fraud’ polls. The PTI’s Haleem also ‘thanked’ the JI leader, who gave up his seat in favour of a PTI backed candidate which ‘exposed rigging in Karachi elections’.

“His [Hafiz Naeem’s] bold decision to shun the Sindh Assembly seat has not only exposed the election commission, but also increased the grace of the leader and the JI,” he said.

“The MQM has been imposed on Karachi in a silly manner. It is a joke in the name of democracy. We will not give up and will continue to chase and unmask those who have stolen the mandate of Karachi and people of Sindh.”

Earlier, the two sides constituted a committee comprising members from both sides for the struggle. The committee comprised Raja Arif Sultan and Qazi Sadaruddin from Jamaat-i-Islami and PTI’s Raja Azhar and Mubashir Hassan as members.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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