Pakistan: Imran Khan’s party issues white paper on ‘poll rigging’, seeks judicial probe

The PTI chief said they had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the alleged rigging. “But the plea has not been fixed for hearing as yet,” he lamented.

Islamabad: Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s party on Thursday issued a white paper on the alleged “rigging” of the February 8 general elections and demanded the formation of a judicial commission to probe what it described as “snatching of the 180 seats” in Parliament.

The February 8 general elections delivered a fractured mandate. Independent candidates – a majority backed by 71-year-old Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party – won 93 seats in the 336-member National Assembly. Former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won 75 seats while the Bilawal Zardari Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) won 17 seats.

Khan’s party has maintained that the powerful establishment had favoured Sharif’s PML-N and that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deliberately used a different form to declare the results to “steal the mandate” that belonged to it.

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The PML-N struck a post-poll deal with Bhutto’s PPP, the Pakistan Peoples Party, and four smaller parties to gain power at the federal level.

“We won 180 seats in the (February 8) elections. Our seats were given to other parties through Form 47,” said PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Khan at a press conference alongside other party leaders in Islamabad on Thursday, referring to the final form of count prepared by the ECP.

The PTI chief said they had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the alleged rigging. “But the plea has not been fixed for hearing as yet,” he lamented.

“We are issuing a 300-page white paper to bring it to the notice of the people as to how their mandate was stolen,” Gohar Khan said, adding that the white paper was based on the reports of international organisations, foreign media and newspapers.

The PTI also lost the right to the reserved seats as its members contested elections as independent candidates.

Complaining about the ECP, Gohar Khan said the top election body had declared the party’s intra-party polls as invalid before the elections and deprived the party of its iconic symbol of ‘cricket bat’ and it had to go to the poll without a unifying symbol.

“Our victory was turned into defeat by (manipulating) election results in the Form 47,” he claimed.

The PTI chief called for carrying out the electoral reforms to eliminate rigging in the polls once and for all.

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub demanded the ECP chief to resign as he failed to ensure free elections despite spending billions of rupees to hold the poll in a fair way. “We demand the chief election commissioner to step down,” he said, accusing the electoral body of failing to hold transparent elections in the country.

Many people believe that the hardline followed by Imran Khan was the main cause of problems faced by the party as it could have formed the government after making a deal with the PPP and other parties.

The white paper is apparently an effort to keep the issue of rigging alive otherwise it carries no weight unless the charges are proven in a court of law.

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