The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday declared the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan’s allegations against its chief election commissioner (CEC) “baseless”.
While addressing a crowd in Sheikhupura, the PTI chief had stated that the commission was biased in favour of Hamza Shehbaz, the current Punjab chief minister and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.
However, the election watchdog has responded to the claims by defending the CEC and condemning Imran’s comments.
In a statement, the commission said that “by issuing fatwas of treason, an institution cannot be declared a traitor” – a dig at the PTI’s rhetoric against the opposing parties and those who deserted his party.
The commission further argued that it will continue to make all decisions in light of the constitution and laws without succumbing to any pressure or emotions.
This is not the first time Imran levelled allegations against the CEC. Earlier, while addressing participants of the PTI’s farmers' convention in Islamabad, he had claimed that CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja was taking orders from Hamza Shehbaz, and his cousin and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz. "Both of the leaders want to rig elections with the help of the election commission," he had added.
However, on June 15, the ECP rubbished the claims and maintained that the elections would be held in a transparent manner and in accordance with the law.
On July 5, addressing a news conference, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar also accused the provincial government of striving to rig the upcoming by-elections in 20 constituencies of the assembly. He warned the bureaucrats to refrain from conniving with the rulers attempting to manipulate the by-elections.
Moreover, in a press conference yesterday, Rafiq Khan Niazi, who is a covering candidate for PTI’s main candidate for the seat, Irfanullah Khan Niazi, claimed that government officials were being pressured to indulge in illegal acts through video links. He said he had received reports about plans to rig the elections in 35 polling stations and cast 20,000 fake votes. He had maintained that the ruling PML-N is known to have indulged in such malpractices in the past, but the district returning officer had failed to allay the concerns of the PTI.
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