Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Saturday blamed a typing error for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s victory in last year’s elections, alleging that the public mandate had changed hands with the single stroke of a pen.
“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) got 6.8 million votes in 2008 but in 2013 its vote bank swelled to 14.5 million and I think that is a real typing error,” Imran told a large public rally in Sialkot. He was alluding to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s claim that ‘typing errors’ were responsible for the change in the number of votes in a constituency of Sargodha from where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif won.
“People voted for one party in Pakistan but the mandate went to another,” he said, adding that the May 11, 2013 polls were not elections but a big fraud, which could be exposed just by opening four [ballot] boxes.
He warned the government that his party would continue to protest for justice as he requested the chief justice of Pakistan to feel the pulse of people and give justice to them.
“The CJ should take notice of our demands [to unveil] the rigging during May 2013 general elections and provide justice to the masses who have sacrificed a lot for the independence of judiciary,”he told the gathering.
He said the judiciary was answerable to Almighty Allah more than to the common man as it had been mandated to do justice.
He said he himself had spent eight days in jail for an independent judiciary. “However, it is a horrible fact that the biggest rigging, in which public mandate was snatched, took place under an independent judiciary,” he said
Imran quoted examples of various constituencies, where ballot papers were recounted and maintained that the National Database Registration Authority chief was trying to change the results by switching off CCTV cameras at the time of the opening of ballot boxes.
He said his party leader, Jahangir Tareen, spent Rs20 million on a vote recount in his constituency whereas another PTI candidate, Hamid Zaman, had to spend Rs5.7 million for the same purpose. “How is it possible for an ordinary man to afford such big amounts for justice?” he asked
To substantiate his claim, Imran asked to play the audio tape in which a DPO was allegedly asking people to vote for the PML-N during by-elections in Hafizabad. The PTI won in Hafizabad but now the Punjab government had adopted a vindictive attitude and registered 37 cases against PTI workers, he added.
The PTI chief also lambasted the new federal budget and declared it a pro-rich and tax evaders’ budget. “There is nothing in it for the common people and the poor. It is pro-bandits budget as the government is not sincere to facilitate the oppressed,” he added.
Imran also criticised the role of Jang/Geo Group chief executive Mir Shakilur Rehman, adding that he had sympathies with the journalists working for Geo/Jang Goup.
He presented a 2013 document in which the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman had told the PM that Mir Shakil was allegedly threatening him over the expected arrest of one of his relatives.
Imran alleged that the PML-N had a soft corner for Mir Shakil in spite of the fact that he had blackmailed Nawaz Sharif in 1998. “Mir Shakilur Rehman had also threatened State Bank’s governor for some ulterior motives,” he added.
Imran said the penalty imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Geo was not sufficient considering its crime. He urged the government to make Pemra a strong entity on the pattern of the United Kingdom.
The PTI chief announced that the next public gathering to protest against alleged rigging would be held in Bahawalpur on June 22. Senior leaders, including Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Ejaz Chaudhry and Jahangir Tareen also addressed the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.
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