KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to change its protests schedule given the traffic jams that its previous sit-ins were causing.
Now the party will hold sit-ins on Fridays and Sundays and will focus more extensively on its legal struggle against the alleged rigging in the polls on May 11. At a press conference at Insaf House on Wednesday, PTI candidate for NA-239 Subhan Ali Sahil said that the party had submitted all evidence of extensive vote-rigging to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and also exercised its democratic right to protest through peaceful sit-ins across Karachi.
The next protest will be held at Karachi Port Trust in Keamari on Friday and the protesters will gather at Qayyumabad Chowrangi on Sunday, he announced.
PTI candidate for NA-253 Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi demanded that before announcing the official results, the election commission must ensure that the process was fair. He called the Rs15 fee for the verification of thumb impressions condemnable.
The ECP secretary had formally accepted in the midst of polling that the commission had failed to administer free and fair elections in Karachi but it was surprising that they did not stop the polling process, he asked. “ECP should tell what measures it has taken to incriminate all those, including its own staff, who were responsible for sabotaging the elections.”
The party’s candidates for both national and provincial assemblies from Karachi demanded re-elections on all constituencies on the same pattern as NA-250, where re-polls were held on May 19 with the presence of the armed forces inside all 43 polling stations.
Calling the May 11 elections a ‘farce’, Sahil accused the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) of hijacking the electoral process in collaboration with the city administration, DG Rangers, Karachi core commander and police officials, including SSP Chaudhry Aslam. “With planning and forethought, the PTI was prevented from winning as all these entities were at the MQM’s back,” he claimed. The MQM is no longer a political party but a mafia that wants to rule over the city with force and violence, he added.
Qureshi pointed out that their leadership has been receiving reports of threats given to its activists and supporters across Karachi. Referring to the graffiti against PTI chief Imran Khan, he asked the MQM to refrain from using “such cheap tactics”.
“The PTI is an ideological party and will continue its struggle against the MQM ideologically,” added Sahil. “We will never employ the violent tactics of MQM in response but, nevertheless, struggle to safeguard our mandate from street to street and locality to locality.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2013.