PTI slams ‘violation of rules’ in NA-148 by-polls

Party says SIC candidate not being allowed to enter RO’s office to oversee result compilation

Imran Adnan May 20, 2024


The PTI on Sunday condemned the alleged violations of polling rules and rigging in the NA-148 Multan by-election held earlier in the day – saying that the party-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) candidate was not being permitted inside returning officer’s (RO) office to oversee the compilation of results.

The party has warned that it reserved the right to reject the election results if the SIC candidate was not permitted to oversee their compilation.

PTI-supported SIC candidate, Barrister Taimur Malik, along with his representatives, was reportedly being barred from entering the RO’s office to oversee the compilation of results as stipulated by election regulations.

Speaking to the media, PTI leader Zain Qureshi, son of party’s incarcerated vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said Taimur Malik, their leaders, and activists had been standing outside the RO Office for 1.5 hours in scorching heat, but the SIC candidate was not being allowed to enter inside to oversee the compilation of results.

“We are protesting peacefully against this blatant violation. I urge the Multan administration to allow our candidate to enter the RO office. Any result issued without our candidate’s presence will not be accepted, and the party reserves the right to a peaceful protest as guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Taimur Malik also took to the social media platform X to express his grievances.

“I [still haven’t] been allowed inside the RO camp office, and the entire area resembles a police line. Meanwhile, some TV channels are busy promoting the other candidate’s imaginary lead,” he wrote.

“Why is the system against a free and fair conclusion to the election process? Why does it repeatedly suppress the public’s will? The people of NA-148 and Multan know the actual result.”

In another post, he wrote: “I am now outside the RO’s camp office at Multan Public School and have been informed by DSP Murtaza and SHO Faraz that the instructions are to prevent even the candidate[s] from entering [the office]. It is my right and my chief polling agents’ right to be present at the RO office for [the compilation of results] and review of any rejected votes.”

Malik emphasised that the feedback from across the constituency was overwhelmingly in their favour and insisted on the right to obtain the accurate Form-45 results.

He noted that RO Muhammad Saif, Commissioner Maryam Khan, DC Capt (retd) Rizwan Qadeer, RPO Capt (retd) Sohail Chaudhry, CPO Sadiq Dogar, and SSP Arsalan Zahid had assured them that there would be no restrictions from their side.

Malik called on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure a free and fair conclusion to the electoral process in NA-148, maintaining that the public's mandate would prevail.

The PTI also shared images of the Form-45 on social media, showing a significant lead of the SIC candidate over others.


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