In the aftermath: PTI disputes poll results in up to four cities

Published: May 14, 2013

In Karachi, PTI activists defied the section 144 imposed by the government, and gathered in their hundreds to block the Shahrah-e-Faisal in presence of heavily armed police and rangers. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS

KARACHI: 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters took to the streets in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Mardan, pressing the poll body to hold re-election or recount of votes in constituencies “rigged by PML-N, MQM and ANP”.

In Karachi, PTI activists defied the section 144 imposed by the government, and gathered in their hundreds to block the Shahrah-e-Faisal in presence of heavily armed police and rangers. On the second day of protests, PTI’s demands remained the same. “We want re-elections in Karachi,” said Arif Alvi, the PTI candidate for NA-250. Clad in a white shalwar kameez, Alvi sat with his supporters in the middle of the road and declared that the constitution gives them the right to protest peacefully.

About the MQM he said, “We don’t want any confrontation with the MQM. But we want free and fair elections and the MQM should agree to it.”

Meanwhile, Lahore’s Ghazi Chowk was also packed with PTI protestors. For Fatima, an avid PTI supporter, the results of NA-125 in Lahore came as a shock as she was quite sure that over 60 per cent of the people at her polling station had voted for PTI’s Hamid Khan. When the results revealed that PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique had won, she joined throngs of protestors at Ghazi Chowk, decrying the outcome.

“We reject the result and want the election commission to intervene,” she exclaimed.

NA-125 in Lahore boasts of 43,000 votes from religious minorities and has a high literacy rate. “Khawaja Saad Rafique of PML-N, who does not have a good reputation in the constituency, was declared as the winner,” said Yasir Ali Hashmi, a spirited PTI supporter.

But Ghuffran Butt, a PML N supporter said: “Lahore is the fort of PML- N.” PTI supporters should realise that NA-125 consisted not only of urban areas, but also of rural areas, where the population density is high and the majority supports PML N, he added.

In the 2008 elections, PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique had won this seat after defeating PML-Q’s Hamayun Akhtar Khan.

Moreover, up to 500 PTI supporters took to the streets in Islamabad to express solidarity with the protesters in Karachi and Lahore. At D-Chowk, Islamabad, a placard read, “Shame on the ECP,” while another said “Rigging elections is worse than dictatorships.”

A group of 50 supporters also staged a sit-in.

Some protesters claimed that the polls in Islamabad and Rawalpindi were also rigged. Abbiah, a first-time voter, said she saw PML-N manipulating voters at the Golra polling station. Similarly, Zahida, a polling agent in Rawalpindi’s NA-56, alleged that PML-N workers had tried to take over her polling station.

Protestors urged the ECP to hold re-elections in the affected constituencies and involve the Army to ensure no political candidates sabotage the electoral process.

Dr Shahzad Waseem, adviser to PTI chairman Imran Khan, also showed up at the protest. Waseem said Pakistan’s citizens were well-informed and they will not digest the rigging.

“People feel that their votes were insulted, so they have stepped out to protest spontaneously without any call from the party,” he said.

However, in Mardan, there was a hue and cry against the ANP. PTI supporters protested against former chief minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Amir Haider Khan Hoti’s win from NA-9, alleging that the polls were rigged.

Protesters were led by Nasir Khan Advocate, the losing candidate of PTI from NA-9, and chanted slogans against ANP leadership.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Sunoo Na Sunoo
    May 14, 2013 - 9:57AM

    Healthy protests: good for democracy. Reelection should take place in Karachi under the close watch of the Army and in other constituencies across the country where turnout was more than one hundred percent. Wherever, stuffing and other election malpractices are found the violators should be punished as per law, if there is such a law.

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  • bilal
    May 14, 2013 - 10:23AM

    shame on ECP for conducting mismanaged elections. guys you all should resign

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  • winston
    May 14, 2013 - 12:05PM

    Re-election should also take place in Lahore especially where Saad Rafique has won, he was involved in the rigging. He should also be asked where he got the billions to build a housing society in Lahore Cantt area.

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  • Malik Waqar Haider Awan
    May 14, 2013 - 12:19PM

    Plz learn to accept the defeat. PTI was sponsored by the army but army, agencies and Malik RIaz can only build an image, but cannot vote, hence, PTI shall accept the result as they have got more seats as expected.

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  • bilal
    May 14, 2013 - 12:55PM

    @Malik Waqar Haider Awan:
    come out of the dream world.

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  • Sahar Khan
    May 14, 2013 - 2:47PM

    @Malik Waqar Haider Awan:

    I don’t understand , when PML(N) and PML(N) supporters will accept that there is a new-entrant in the arena and with all its force. Its newborn and immature politically but it will grow and is going to be the toughest opposition ever in the history of Pakistan IA to the coming government. Imran Khan has his expertise over it. He has repeatedly said that his party will be an unfriendly opposition. PPP’s defeat and very bad one has declared that all those who kept harping that you are strengthening PPP’s position by voting for PTI have all been dismissed. So, till now things are going sane.

    “But Ghuffran Butt, a PML N supporter said: “Lahore is the fort of PML- N.” PTI supporters should realise that NA-125 consisted not only of urban areas, but also of rural areas, where the population density is high and the majority supports PML N, he added.”

    And what does this mean? we should get over this politics of Fort and Citadel. Lahore is no one’s citadel.It’s a city that deserves the correct development now! PML(N) would have to prove itself as the all-provice party now.

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