LAHORE: After receiving a public dressing-down in the recently concluded general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday announced it would attend the all-party conference (APC) called by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in the federal capital on Friday (today).
The PML-N has already rejected the election results that handed its arch-rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) a comfortable lead in National Assembly seats. Other political parties including the MMA also cried foul at the electoral process.
The APC will discuss the anomalies in the election process and the future course of action.
PML-N goes into ‘toughest’ electoral battle
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told The Express Tribune, “The decision to attend the APC was taken in a late Wednesday meeting after all leading parties started contacting each other on the rigging issue.”
She emphasised that it was not the PML-N but the MMA that called the APC and added it would be attended by all mainstream political parties expect the PTI. “We will also devise a future plan and issue a White Paper.”
Earlier, Marriyum criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan for claiming that it had made all arrangements for smooth, and free and fair election, saying the failure of the much talked about RTS had exposed flawed preparations for the election.
“How can the chief election commissioner just come out and say the RTS has failed?” she asked while addressing a news conference after attending the central executive committee meeting in Lahore.
“Was the system not tested or was the test left for election day,” Marriyum retorted.
The former information minister demanded an inquiry into the failure of the system. She reiterated the party stance the elections had been rigged and said, “Our mandate has been stolen. How can we let anyone steal public mandate.”
Marriyum; however, clarified that they would not opt for staging sit-ins and holding protests, referring to the PTI sit-ins in the federal capital to protest against the PML-N government over similar allegations. “We are a mature party with mature leadership.”
She asked, “Why was Form-45 not issued to the PML-N polling agents, why were they booted out during the counting process?”
The PML-N spokesperson said throughout the day slow polling process was observed by the polling staff, adding election results of areas where the PML-N enjoyed strong support were unnecessarily delayed.
Meanwhile, PML-N President Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif met with deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Adiala Jail and briefed him about the current political situation in the country.
Shehbaz informed his elder brother of the party’s decision to attend the MMA’s APC.
PML-N, MMA, ANP reject results over 'systematic manipulation'
According to party sources, the elder Sharif expressed dismay over the current situation.
After seeking advice from his brother on several issues, Shehbaz headed back to Lahore the same day to participate in the central executive meeting.
Ameer Muqam, Shahid Khaqam Abbasi, Raja Farooq Haider, Ayaz Sadiq, Saad Rafique, Ahsan Iqbal and other main leaders participated in the four to five-hour long meeting.
The meeting weighed different options of making government in Punjab. It also discussed options in case their party fails to succeed in forming a government in the politically-important province.
A well-placed leader in the party disclosed that it was important for the party to establish its case in the public about its stance over rigging.
He said a cogent effort was required to that effect. “Under these circumstances, it is important for Shehbaz Sharif to remain in the National Assembly, even if the PML-N manages to form the government in Punjab.”