Imran warns against Punjab CM vote theft

PTI chief says people will be out of control if public mandate was stolen


Our Correspondent July 21, 2022
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan addresses supporters, on July 21, 2022. SCREEENGRAB

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LAHORE:

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan issued a stern warning on Thursday against manipulating the Punjab chief minister’s election on Friday (today), saying if his party’s mandate was stolen, he would “not be responsible for what happens next”.

Addressing protest rallies in several cities of the country via video link, Imran Khan warned that if the people's mandate was stolen, the public would not remain “in control and the Sri Lanka-like situation could erupt. “I will not be responsible for what happens then,” he said.

“Everyone knows that our party has full numbers [for the election of its candidate Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as the chief minister of Punjab]. If public mandate is bought with stolen money, then I will not be responsible for what happens,” he said.

“The people will not remain in my control because the nation has awakened. They will not sit idly over the stealing of their mandate,” he said. He told his supporters that in case of rigging, he would address them at night and “then we will give them a strong” response.

“If the public mandate is stolen, I would announce a different kind of protest. And if public mandate is respected in election of the Punjab chief minister, we will gather again to thank Almighty Allah for the success,” he maintained.

Imran repeated his earlier allegations that there was a plan to defeat PTI in the July 17 by-elections of Punjab but the people foiled all that planning. “Money was spent on the Punjab by-election. Those who conducted such elections should be punished,” he said.

Also read: 'Politically aware' PTI MPAs won’t vote for Elahi in Punjab CM election: Sanaullah

Imran also continued his trenchant criticism of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. “I have never seen such a dishonest election commissioner,” he said, adding: “We will not contest general elections under the supervision of this election commissioner.”

The PTI chairman said that his government had proposed that elections should be conducted through the electronic voting machines (EVMs) but claimed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) opposed the move more strongly than the then opposition.

“There are 130 out of 160 documented methods of rigging, which can be eliminated by using the EVMs,” Imran said. He also criticised the ECP for postponing by-elections and local bodies elections in Sindh “over a mere excuse of rains”

Earlier, Imran addressed the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) parliamentary party meeting at local hotel. The meeting was attended by over 186 members of the provincial assembly as highlighted by PTI leaders Fayyaz Chaudhry and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan.

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