The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) filed a petition in the Sindh High Court on Monday against the postponement of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections in Karachi.
The petition was filed against alleged government interference in the elections and the Election Commission’s decision to postpone the elections.
Talking to the media, MQM MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi said that the independent judiciary will keep the facts in mind and grant justice to MQM.
He added that the elections that are being held are “unconstitutional” and said that “no one trusts the election results”.
The federal and Sindh government, along with the IG Sindh have been made parties in the petition.
Former MLA Azad Kashmir Tahir Khokhar filed the petition in which the MQM has requested an urgent hearing of the case.
On Sunday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain had asked the MQM’s Coordination Committee to file petitions in courts seeking to make the elections null and void.
Earlier, the MQM boycotted the AJK elections after they were postponed in Karachi due to security reasons.
Updated from print edition (below)
Govt has stabbed MQM in the back: Altaf
Asking for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections to be declared null and void, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief (MQM) Altaf Hussain said that fresh elections should be held to counter the “autocratic steps” of the government.
While addressing a workers convention across the country a day after elections on seats reserved for Kashmiris in Karachi were postponed, Hussain said: “Despite the fact that the MQM has supported the government in difficult times, it has stabbed us in the back,” he alleged, adding that “June 26 should be observed as a day to mark the dictatorial actions of the present government.”
The MQM nominated President Asif Ali Zardari for the office of the president at a time when no one from his own party was ready to suggest his name and gave unconditional support to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, he said.
Hussain claimed that important leaders from the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) had told the MQM that the elections would be postponed if the party does not agree to let go of one seat.
He said that the MQM had made all preparations and opened party offices in Kashmir and fielded candidates from nearly all constituencies according to the demands of the Kashmiri people. “In the previous elections, the MQM had won two seats and it was expected that the MQM would win more seats this time, he added.
A similar situation happened in 1993 when the then corps commander of Karachi Lt. Gen. (retd) Naseer Akhter tried to browbeat the MQM into accepting four seats, but the MQM had refused to bow down and boycotted the elections, Hussain said.
Altaf Hussain said that a “high-profile” personality from the PPP had promised him that he would never betray the MQM. The MQM now asks him not to go against their party if he cannot support it, he added.
The elections were postponed on the pretext that the Rangers were not ready to provide manpower. If it were really so then “he should have resigned from his position instead of stabbing the MQM in the back.”
He asked the MQM’s Coordination Committee to file petitions in courts seeking to make the elections null and void.
“The government should know there is a bad time ahead because the government has cheated the MQM that stood by it in times of need. Do not forget that it is 2011 and not 1993,” he warned.
The Pakistan People Party meanwhile accused the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz of rigging the elections in Punjab. Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Minister Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, a close associate of the president, said nine seats for Kashmiris in Punjab were rigged by the district administration.
“The Punjab government had desecrated the sanctity of the electoral process by using district machinery and police for organised rigging,” Wattoo said at a press conference here on Sunday.
“Punjab governor Sardar Latif Khosa tried to contact Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to discuss the situation, but Sharif refused to talk to him,” Wattoo added.
The administration should not have become a tool of the provincial government since it serves the country and not a political party, he said.
Police officials tortured PPP workers and held Presiding Officer Ishtiaq Ahmed hostage to compel him to say that polling had been transparent, Watoo said.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan also said complaints were being received about rigging in different areas of Punjab.
Talking to Pakistan Television, Awan said that PML-N candidates, after seeing a clear defeat resorted to violence at different polling stations in Sialkot and Lahore.
She said PPP and Muslim Conference have decided to go to litigation jointly against PML-N’s AJK election rigging.
Responding to allegations, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique accused the federal government of trying to rig the AJK election results. “President Asif Ali Zardari is bent upon hijacking the elections,” he said.
Speaking to journalists in Lahore, he warned that if the results are changed, the central government will have to pay a heavy price for it.
Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) also condemned what they called the government’s interference in Kashmir elections. WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP AND QAMAR ZAMAN IN ISLAMABAD.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2011.
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