• Party leaders demand CJP’s intervention, allege victories in Balochistan changed to defeats overnight
• Imran endorses Alvi’s refusal to call NA session
• Amir Dogar nominated for NA speaker slot

ISLAMABAD: The PTI has decided to take to the streets, again, to protest against the alleged theft of its mandate, urging all democratic forces to join hands with the former ruling party to “strengthen democracy” in the country.

This was announced by PTI leader and MNA-elect Sher Afzal Marwat during a press conference in Islamabad, alongside other senior party leaders, as well as PTI-backed candidates from Balochistan. Bes­i­des the protest drive, the presser focused on ‘massive rigging’ in Balochis­tan, which allegedly turned the victories of the PTI candidates into defeats overnight.

Mr Marwat said the PTI would organise a countrywide peaceful protest on March 2 on the directives of PTI founder Imran Khan and he had been tasked with leading a demonstration in Islamabad on Saturday morning. He said that if the nation did not raise its voice against the “mega polls theft”, then democracy would never flourish in Pakistan.

Speaking about the situation in Balochistan, the PTI leader said that the issue of election rigging in Balochistan was presented before the ECP but that proved an exercise in futility.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI leader

Ali Mohammad Khan alleged that the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan “were breached through large-scale rigging” across the country, especially in Balochistan. He stressed that the public should be allowed to exercise its right to choose a government.

He assured that the PTI was not against any political party or an institution but they wanted that the public mandate must be respected.

“It is not a personal fight; it is a matter of people’s mandate. If we want to save democracy in Pakistan, then give it [government] to the ones who have the mandate,” he added.

“We request the chief justice of Pakistan to launch a probe into the allegations of the Rawalpindi commissioner regarding the massive poll theft.”

Polls in Balochistan

PTI leader Salar Khan Kakar alleged that seats were sold to “contractors, smugglers and apolitical figures” in Balochistan allegedly through massive rigging.

According to Mr Kakar, he had secured a clear victory as per Form-45 but a PML-N candidate who was in the eighth position was declared triumphant “fraudulently”. He claimed that he was denied entry into the RO’s office despite waiting outside the office all night.

PTI’s candidate for PB-41 in Quetta, Ghafar Kakar alleged he was warned of consequences through a letter if he did not halt the election campaign. He said he campaigned vigorously in the lead-up to polls, but his victory was snatched.

Mr Kakar claimed that he was kicked out of the RO office by the paramilitary personnel who allegedly manipulated election results to declare him a runner-up. Haji Noor Khan Khalji, who contested the PB-39 seat from Quetta, said that people came out in huge numbers to vote for Imran Khan.

“We were contacted at night and were asked that if we would stay with Imran Khan, they would not let us win,” he alleged. He said that he was winning with a clear margin on February 8 but “they” defeated him on February 9 by manipulating election results.

PTI’s candidate for NA-253, Saddam Tarin, stated PTI-backed candidates had Form-45, which clearly showed their victory in various constituencies, including NA-253.

He alleged that PTI’s mandate was stolen at midnight. However, the PTI candidate made it clear that “they would not surrender and were ready to render any sacrifice to get the stolen public mandate back”.

PTI’s candidate for NA-252, Alam Khan said that he had won the seat with a margin of 30,000 votes as per Form 45 but after three days, he was handed defeat by 2,000 votes on Form-47.

“I got 52,000 votes, the runner-up 28,000, but the person who emerged victorious secured 22,000 votes and was at the fourth position.”

Imran endorses Alvi’s move

Separately, PTI founder Imran Khan endorsed President Dr Arif Alvi’s decision to not convene a session of the National Assembly.

The people’s mandate has been stolen through massive rigging and the biggest dacoity, he said while talking to the media at the Adiala Jail on Tuesday.

Mr Khan said he had dictated a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), adding that he was not in contact with the party leaders and the letter would be dispatched to the fund within a day after a discussion with his party leaders. He said that the IMF would be apprised that the economy could not be stabilised without political stability.

The former premier recalled that the PML-N and the PPP had demanded the withdrawal of cases for extending support to the legislation related to the Financial Action Task Force.

Mr Khan also demanded the resignation of the chief election commissioner over the rigging as he had failed to provide a level playing field to the PTI during the election. He criticised the ECP for depriving his party of the reserved seats.

He termed the caretaker government ‘hostile’ and that every effort was made to eliminate the PTI, which emerged stronger than before after the general election.

The PTI founder said his party was contacting all political parties whose mandate was stolen in the election and it would give a protest call on Saturday.

Dogar for speaker

PTI leader Omer Ayub, on the other hand, said Imran Khan had nominated Amir Dogar for the position of the National Assembly speaker while Junaid Khan would contest for the slot of deputy speaker.

The announcement was made after Mr Ayub and other party leaders held a string of meetings with the imprisoned PTI chief in the Adiala Jail.

Mr Dogar served as the chief whip in the NA during the PTI government. He also served as the special assistant to the prime minister on political affairs and was among the several PTI leaders who were arrested in the aftermath of the May 9 attacks.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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