ISLAMABAD: With by-elections on vacant seats of the national and provincial assemblies less than a week away, the PTI has accused the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of pre-poll rigging in the run-up to the elections slated to be held on April 21.

The former ruling party also decided to organise public gatherings in constituencies where by-polls are slated to be held in which Omar Ayub, Barrister Gohar, and Sher Afzal Marwat will “ensure their presence”.

In a press conference on Tuesday, PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub said the PTI candidate in PP-36 was being harassed by the police which raided and encircled his house and also brought a prison van. The PTI leader claimed that the PTI was not allowed to run its election campaign. He alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz and the Punjab IG were using “brutal and coercive tactics against PTI leaders and workers in other constituencies” to rig elections.

Omar Ayub claimed that the number of polling stations was reduced and they were set up in remote areas to discourage voters in an alleged bid to influence elections. He claimed that Gujranwala RPO (regional police officer), a relative of the PML-N candidate, was given the charge of Wazirabad. “The officials are instructed that Form-45 should not be given to the PTI nominees,” he alleged.

Party to move IHC against installation of ‘glass wall’ in room where Imran meets visitors

Judicial inquiry

Speaking about the Bahawal­nagar incident, the opposition leader sought a transparent judicial inquiry into the “clash” between the police officials and army personnel to ensure accountability. “The incident is reflects the lack of discipline in the law-enforcement institutions,” he added.

Criticising the economic policies, he said the “economic collapse was followed by the worst food inflation that jumped to 45 per cent coupled by an alarming surge in unemployment and unbearable cost of living”.

Talking about the Iran and Israel issue, he said that Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar should have given a policy statement on the “growing tensions in the Middle East” but unfortunately the foreign minister did not have any time to give any statement in this regard.

The PTI leader, however, welcomed the Saudi delegation’s visit to Pakistan but linked investments with the rule of law. “Why would investors come to such a country where lawlessness and anarchy reign supreme,” he added.

Omar Ayub demanded that Bushra Bibi’s medical check-up be done by a doctor from the Shaukat Khanum Hospital, alleging that “secret cameras” were installed in her bedroom, which was condemnable and should be removed.

About the opposition alliance, Mr Ayub asserted that the six-party opposition alliance came into being with the sole objective of the restoration of the Constitution and upholding the rule of law in the country.

He said the opposition alliance held “historic public gatherings” in Pishin and Chaman and challenged the PML-N and PPP to hold such public meetings in these areas.

Glass wall in Adiala Jail

In a separate press conference outside Adiala Jail, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said a glass wall had been erected in the room where PTI founder Imran Khan meets his family members and party leaders.

“Today Imran Khan has directed Sher Afzal Marwat to file a contempt petition in the Islamabad High Court against the erection of the glass wall which is a severe violation of the court’s orders,” he said after meeting Imran Khan in the jail.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2024

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