GDA wants re-elections across province

Unhappy with July 25 results, party leaders plan to hold protests against alleged rigging

Our Correspondent August 01, 2018
Head of the Grand Democratic Alliance Pir Pagara Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Rejecting the election results in Sindh, the leaders of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) demanded a re-poll in the province. After an hours long meeting at the Kingri House, they termed the scenario as 'historic rigging', which aimed to steal the mandate of the people of Sindh.

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Chaired by Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi aka Pir Pagara, the meeting was attended by Ayaz Latif Palijo, Zulfiqar Mirza, Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi, Ghous Ali Shah, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Murtaza Jatoi and other party leaders. It was decided that rallies and protests will be held across different districts in Sindh and the results will be challenged in election tribunals.

After the meeting, Pir Pagara, while addressing a joint press conference, said that the whole nation was made a fool of in the election, alleging that with massive pre-planned rigging took place.

He said that the Sindh government used state machinery against the GDA candidates, rejecting their votes. "It looks like the election commission and caretaker government facilitated the PPP [Pakistan Peoples Party] in rigging the polls," he alleged, adding that they had registered many complaints against officers in various districts demanding their transfer, but no one took notice of it.

"There was an anti-PPP wave among the voters and it was impossible for them to visit their constituencies because of voters' strong reaction against bad governance in the last 10 years. I wonder how they won the seats," he expressed his doubt, saying that the votes of GDA candidates were rejected during the counting process.

"Our polling agents were thrown out of the polling stations and they made the result of their choice," he alleged. According to Pir Pagara, the rigging started from July 12 as many government officers were seen helping PPP candidates. "We had sent the names of the officers to higher authorities requesting to transfer them, but all in vain," Pagara remarked.

He said the GDA leaders were considering different options and could announce a strike in protest against the rigging in Sindh. "Initially, we are challenging the results in court of law," he informed.

Regarding the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government at the Centre, he said that the GDA was not against the PTI government and Imran Khan had potential to resolve Pakistan's issues.  "It will be a big challenge for him [Imran] to bring looted money from those who have plundered public wealth," Pagara said.

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Meanwhile, Palijo, who contested the provincial election from Qaismabad in Hyderabad, said that at least 10,000 votes were rejected in the constituencies from where GDA candidates were winning and state machinery was mobilised on election day.

"For the first time in the history of Tharparkar, 73% voter turnout was recorded by the election commission. In this area, people came out of their home against PPP but the results were unfortunately tampered with," he claimed.

Palijo alleged that political agents of GDA were forcibly asked to leave the polling stations and no one could get Form 45.

"Murtaza Jatoi, Jalal Mehmood Shah, Sadruddin Shah Rashdi, Ghous Ali Shah were winning candidates, but their results were changed after 6pm," he said. According to Palijo, they will start the protest against rigging from Friday in all the district headquarters.

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