PESHAWAR: Opposition parties in the national and provincial assembly on Wednesday staged rallies across the province to protest against the alleged rigging in last month’s general elections.
The rallies were led by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) — which had contested the July 25 general elections under the banner of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) along with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) — after the party had given a call for the protests on Sunday.
They were joined by activists and supporters of other political parties in the province including Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
Protests against alleged poll rigging from Aug 9
Party workers held aloft party flags and chanted slogans against the top poll body. They demanded the resignation of the chief election commissioner.
The JUI-F blocked roads and intersections at a number locations including at Qureshi Mor in Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Tank at Pezu road, Bannu Link Road, Togh Bala Chowk in Kohat and Hangu, the Grand Trunk Road in Nowshera and at Akora Khattak. Protests were also held at the Rashakai Interchange and the Swabi Interchange. A protest demonstration was also held on the Karakoram Highway at Chakdara and in Swat on the Chitral Road.
JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman led a protest rally at Qureshi Mor in DI Khan from where he departed for Islamabad to join the main protest by the opposition parties outside the gates of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
In Malakand, the rally was led by JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Gul Naseeb along with a number of senior party workers from the JUI-F’s Malakand chapter.
In Khyber, Mufti Ijaz Shinwari and Maulana Shams led the JUI-F rally and blocked the Pak-Afghan border. After starting in the morning, it continued for three hours and terminated before Zuhr prayers.
A protest was also on the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway, closing it for all kinds of traffic at Swabi, Rashakai and Mardan interchanges for three hours.
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The roads were opened after the JUI-F leaders delivered their speeches at the rallies.
In Swabi, the main protest rally was led by Maulana Attaul Haq Darvaish, the district chief of JUI-F in Swabi. In Mardan, the rally was led by Maulana Shujaul Mulk.
The protests ended peacefully and the rallies of party activists headed to Islamabad to join the opposition protest outside the ECP.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2018.
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