12 December 2018

Pakistan’s opposition parties protest election results

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Hundreds of parliamentarians and supporters of an 11-party grand opposition alliance on Wednesday staged a sit-in outside the election commission headquarters in capital Islamabad. informs citing AA.

The opposition alliance named as “Pakistan alliance for free and fair elections” has already rejected the results of July 25 election results as “rigged” and “manipulated” vowing to continue the protest across the country.

“We don’t accept rigged elections,” “Down with rigged elections” and “Fake elections are unacceptable” were among slogans chanted by protesters belonging to Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N) of the three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s party (PPP) of the slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, five-party religious alliance Muttehida Majlis Amal (MMA), and other parties.

The PML(N) President Shehbaz Sharif, who is opposition’s joint candidate for the prime minister, could not fly to the capital from northeastern Lahore city due to bad weather, the party’s spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb told reporters.

Contingents of anti-riot police and paramilitary troops lined the road as former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, MMA president Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, former opposition leader Syed Khursheeed Shah and PML-N chairman Raja Zafar ul Haq marched towards the election commission.

The center-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of former cricket hero Imran Khan has emerged as the single largest party in the wake of the last month’s elections -- marred by the rigging allegations.

Not only the opposition parties but several international media outlets, and observers like European Union Observers Mission, found “irregularities” in pre and post elections process, including non-provision of “level-playing field to all the participants”.

The election commission, however, rejects the allegations as “baseless.”

“July 25 elections were the worst elections in the country’s history. The people of Pakistan have rejected the rigging and manipulation,” Maulana Fazl, who lost elections on two constituencies, said while addressing the protesters.

Demanding the formation of a special commission to probe into rigging allegations, he said the chief election commissioner failed to conduct free and fair elections, therefore, “he should resign from his office”.

Fazl’s remarks were supported by Gilani, who too dubbed the July 25 elections as the “worst elections in Pakistan’s history”.

“The opposition parties have jointly secured 25 million votes, which are way higher than PTI’s (over 15 million) votes”, Ahsan Iqbal, a newly-elected parliamentarian, and former interior minister, said in his remarks.

“We all reject this fake mandate because it has not been given by the people of Pakistan,” Iqbal charged in a thinly-veiled reference to the country’s powerful army, which is being blamed for favoring the PTI.

Countrywide protests

Hundreds of MMA workers also held demonstrations in several parts of the country, local media reported.

The angry protesters blocked roads the metropolitan city of Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Bannu, Karak, Swat, Mastung and other cities, causing traffic jams.

They burned old tyres on the roads, and raised slogans against the election commission.

The opposition parties have announced to hold more protest demonstrations outside the provincial election commission headquarters on Thursday.

2018.08.08 / 18:20
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