Punjab by-polls prove Imran’s rigging allegations wrong: Saad

PML-N did not run away and took tough decisions to save the sinking economy, says railways minister

News Desk July 18, 2022

Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that results of today’s by-elections in Punjab showed that polls were held in a free and transparent manner and proved the rigging allegations of PTI Chairman Imran Khan wrong.

“It has been proven once again that Imran khan and his aides are liars… establishment, federal and provincial governments remained impartial during the by-polls,” he said while addressing a press conference in Lahore in wee hours of Monday.

The rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has emerged victorious in majority of the seats in today’s big test. According to the unofficial and inconclusive results, the Imran Khan-led party has secured 11 seats while it has a clear lead in five other constituencies.

The former ruling party won Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, Khushab, Sheikhupura, Jhang and two other provincial assembly seats.

According to the unofficial and inconclusive results received so far, PML-N won only one of the four seats in Lahore while it has an advantage in two other constituencies.

The minister in his today’s presser said the by-elections were a political contest between political forces and added that state institutions did not make any attempt to rig the polls.

Saad said his party’s defeat in the polls was a result of higher oil prices and rising inflation as it opted for rescuing the country from default by “sacrificing its political capital”.

The minister said his party did not run away and took tough decisions to save the sinking economy “which was left on the verge of collapse by Imran Khan”.

Also read: Punjab by-polls: PTI wins 11 seats, leads in 5 constituencies in major upset

Earlier, PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that the party paid the price of ‘difficult decisions’ taken by the coalition government that came into power on the back of Imran Khan’s ouster through no-trust vote in parliament.

In a major upset, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf won three out of four constituencies in Lahore in today’s by-elections.

Source privy to the development told Express News that Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in London for his ‘medical treatment’ since 2019, contacted his younger brother Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz – son of PM Shehbaz – and directed them to call an emergency meeting of the party to discuss the future course of action in the context of the results of today’s by-elections.

According to party sources, the three-time premier said that PML-N has suffered due to ‘difficult decisions’, referring to mammoth hikes in prices of petroleum products and electricity tariff among others to secure an IMF deal.

The party leader was also quoted as saying, “We respect the opinion of the people and the election results are still trickling in.”

Nawaz Sharif directed PM Shahbaz to call an emergency meeting. He said that after today’s election results, the plan for the future course will be decided in the emergency meeting.


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