Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) locked horns in the National Assembly over rigging allegations ahead of the first anniversary of the May 11 elections.
In a rancorous speech in the lower house of parliament on Thursday, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq said that he would challenge all accusations levelled by the PTI regarding rigging in last year’s election. “I challenge the claim and facts and figures [regarding rigging] given by Imran Khan,” Rafiq said.
Urging PTI not to stage the protest rally, the PML-N leader suggested setting up of a parliamentary fact finding committee to investigate the rigging charges in the 2013 poll.
“Both PTI and the government can submit evidence of rigging related to the four constituencies,” Rafiq told the house.
In response to PTI’s allegations, he pledged that his party would also nominate four constituencies for verification of votes where the polls were alleged to have been rigged.
Those constituencies include NA-56 –Rawalpindi won by PTI chairman Imran Khan defeating Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Hanif Abbasi; NA-55 –Rawalpindi won by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Awami Muslim League (AML); NA 126 Lahore — won by Shafqat Mehmood of PTI and the constituency of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak.
Casting doubts over PTI’s motives to stage a protest on May 11, Rafiq said, “You could have brought election reforms in this house instead of protesting.”
Interestingly, soon after Rafiq concluded his speech, the speaker of the National Assembly adjourned proceedings with Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and PTI leaders waiting for their opportunity to dive into the debate.
Meanwhile, responding to the vitriolic speech by the PML-N leader outside the Parliament House, PTI chief Imran Khan said, “The match was fixed in the assembly hall and they did not give us a chance to respond.”
Imran also rejected the idea of fact-finding committee saying it was not the job of parliament.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2014.
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