ANI Photo | Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, five opposition parties to launch protest against election rigging tomorrow

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and five other opposition parties will launch a mass protest movement against what it terms “worst-ever rigging” in the general elections held on February 8 and in the by-polls, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
On Wednesday, PTI Punjab office-bearers, MNAs, MPAs and ticket-holders held a virtual meeting to discuss the issue and outline a plan for protests set to be held in Pakistan on Friday, according to Dawn report.
The meeting chaired by PTI’s Central Punjab general secretary Hammad Azhar took stock of the “stealing of PTI-backed candidates’ mandate” in all national and provincial assembly constituencies across Punjab.
Imran Khan’s party has accused the Punjab government and the Election Commission of Pakistan of planning rigging in the recent elections, according to Dawn report.
Speaking on the occasion, Hammad Azhar said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, ECP, police and other state institutions modified the results of PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council candidates to turn their victories into defeat, Dawn reported.
PTI’s Punjab Information Secretary Shaukat Basra said rigging in by-polls had defeated hopes of Pakistan. He stated that the Constitution had been trampled by repeated violation of law and Pakistan will rise to take revenge for their stolen mandate.
While addressing a press conference in Karachi, PTI Sindh leader Haleem Adil Sheikh said the party had sought permission from the Sindh High Court for a protest on Friday. He further said PTI planned to organise another rally near the Mazar-i-Quaid on May 5. He recalled how official machinery had been used to curb the political activities of PTI in the past by imposing lockdown in the city or not giving them permission for their rallies.
Pakistan held its 12th national general election on February 8, amid allegations of rigging and the shutdown of cellular and internet services. The PTI dominated the election results, with the highest number of successful candidates in the February 8 general elections. However, the party has alleged rigging in the polls.
A day after the results of Pakistan by-elections were declared, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders on April 22 raised serious allegations, asserting the involvement of intelligence and security agencies in orchestrating election rigging, Dawn reported.
Describing April 21 as a “black day” in the annals of Pakistan’s history, the PTI has called upon the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to suspend the declaration of results.
While addressing a press conference, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan said, “[The] day of election is considered an accountability day, and people cast their votes with great zeal. However, on April 21, open and blatant violations of law were observed. The magnitude of the rigging and violation of law has never been observed in the history of Pakistan. Gates of polling stations were closed, and at some polling stations, more votes were polled than the total registered votes.”
“At one polling station, the candidate’s father informed us that votes were already cast even though polling time had not yet begun. We have reported all complaints to the ECP, but the election watchdog took no action. We demand that the ECP conduct an inquiry and also share that how it will ensure that such rigging will not be repeated next time,” he said.
Questioning the efficacy of the ECP, Khan called for an inquiry into the reported irregularities. He criticised the exclusion of returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers from the judiciary, casting doubt on the ECP’s credibility.
PTI leader Omar Ayub echoed Khan’s sentiments, alleging pre-poll rigging facilitated by the suspension of internet services. He accused Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz of undermining transparency in the electoral process.

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