PML-N wants SC action after ECP report reveals rigging

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ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The PML-N has demanded that the judiciary take a suo motu notice on the Daska by-election for “violation of the Constitution” after a report by the Election Commission of Pakistan determined that the polls were not held in a free and transparent manner.

Addressing the media on Sunday, PML-N stalwart and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Article 240 of the Constitution says all institutions should help the Election Commission of Pakistan in holding transparent elections.

He said that the ECP’s report contains the names of all those involved in the “rigging” of the polls held on February 19, and that a meeting held in this regard was attended by “many PTI members”.

“The meeting decided how the election would be rigged,” he alleged. Abbasi called for exemplary punishment of all “conspirators” and termed the report a “test” for the superior judiciary.

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Noting the report’s contents, he said that an official in Sialkot summoned all presiding officers to Daska College and gave them instructions . “Presiding officers were directed to keep voting slow in Daska city,” Abbasi said, adding that they were “told not to interfere in whatever the police and administration do”.

“Polling stations were ordered to close at 4:30pm and all Form 45,” he said, in further reference to the report. Abbasi, quoting the report, said that the Deputy Education (Female) also invited women presiding officers to her home and that Assistant Commissioner Daska and DSP Sambrial were also present at the DEO’s house.

“Women presiding officers were asked to help the government and not interfere in rigging,” he said. The PML-N leader went on to say that 20 presiding officers were transferred via private vehicles under the “scheme” and were “kept at two different police stations” as well as an unknown location.

Further referencing the report, he said that one woman presiding officer was “maltreated”. “The report says the RO did not leave his office,” Abbasi said, adding that the returning officers “did not know of the missing presiding officers’ whereabouts till seven hours later”.

Abbasi remarked that the report states that the police officers, instead of fulfulling their mandated duty to protect the electoral staff, were instead found to have “kidnapped” them. “Only time will tell who was afraid and why,” the former premier said.

He asked how the election was of any benefit to the police officers and said that the chief minister and prime minister “will have to answer such questions”. “This matter goes all the way to the chief minister and Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Abbasi alleged.

He said this is but a “small example of an election” and hoped that the ECP makes the report public. Meanwhile, in a statement, PMLN President and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif demanded Imran Khan step down and face the law in light of the Daska Election Inquiry Report.

He stressed that immediate action must be taken over the Daska Election Inquiry Report. Shehbaz Sharif said the PTI government was trying to steal not only the public money from their pockets, but also their right to vote and elect their representatives.

“Imran Niazi must step down as now the report of Election Commission has proved rigging by him. Imran Niazi boasts everyday about bringing the powerful in compliance with law, why is he reluctant now because its his own self that has been caught red handed,” he maintained.

He said it was not easy to voluntarily present oneself for accountability and legal proceedings like Nawaz Sharif did. He further said that if Imran has any regard for law, decency and political integrity, he should resign and face the law.

Shehbaz stated that Imran came up with new rigging techniques in the form of his so-called Election Reforms after his tactics of rigging elections failed in Daska. Shehbaz pledged to fight these reforms based on mala fide intention, EVMs, online voting and the NAB Amendment Ordinance at every forum.

He said that all public-friendly political parties had joined hands to foil PTI’s plan of enslaving the nation. He concluded this sinister conspiracy would be buried along with the long list of dark deeds of this disastrous Imran government.

Shehbaz also lashed out at the PTI’s procurement of LNG at historic high rates warning that it would add fuel to the fire of Inflation already burning the people of Pakistan. Shehbaz said the nation was already being crushed under the avalanche of PTI’s corruption and incompetence. The Imran government had made sugar, flour, oil, petrol, medicines unaffordable for the poor Pakistanis, he added.

This procurement of LNG at more than $ 30 mmbtu was another mega scandal that needed to be investigated. The people of Pakistan would pay for this disastrous deal by the tyrannical Imran government. This current regime was one disastrous fraud after another.

Shehbaz said the PTI government, which was declared most corrupt by Transparency International, came up with the NAB Amendment Ordinance to hide their theft and corruption instead of punishing the corrupt. And even after doing all this and issuing Ordinances to protect corruption, Imran Khan said he was at a loss to understand what was causing inflation. Meanwhile, Punjab government sources said that the provincial government would take action in this regard if ECP does the same.

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