LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has accepted the presence of certain organisational weaknesses, which affected the outcome of the cantonment board election and the by-election in Karachi’s NA-246 constituency.
But despite the defeat in Karachi, PTI central information secretary Shireen Mazari called it a breakthrough in the “politics of fear” in Karachi. Talking to reporters at the Lahore Press Club on Thursday, she termed the NA-246 by elections “a breakthrough in Karachi’s politics of fear”.
“Although the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has secured more seats in the cantonment polls, it can be seen turning into a provincial party. Most of its seats are in Lahore and Rawalpindi,” she said.
“On the other hand, the PTI has emerged as a party with support in more federal units,” she said.
Mazari said her party fully realised that the time had come to rectify shortcomings in its organisational structure. She said this must be done before the upcoming local government elections. She said a committee had been constituted for the purpose.
“The federal government, it seems, is already scared of us,” said Mazari.
She said that the party had around 100,000 documents about rigging in the 2013 elections. “The rigging evidence in ballot bags is besides that. We have our evidence. But we also want the bags to be opened for more evidence in support of our claims,” she said.
“The prime minister too has said recently that rigging had taken place against his party. He must come before the judicial commission to prove his claim. Other parties must also give evidence,” she said.
Mazari said that the PTI would accept the decision of the commission. “It will be a historic decision for democracy. It is up to them [the judicial commission] to assess who did what and how they did it,” she said.
“The election tribunal in the PTI stands dissolved since it submitted its report. We accepted its findings and implemented its suggestions. Justice (retd) Wajihuddin is held in high esteem in the party. However, the fact remains that the PTI chairman has dissolved the tribunal after it completed its task,” she said.
To a question about the PTI’s prolonged sit-in, she said the party had raised awareness among people about rigging and the sanctity of vote. “We did not criticise any democratic institution. In fact, we criticised its (parliament’s) composition in the wake of alleged rigging,” she said.
Referring to loss of life and property in torrential rains in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, she said the government there was facilitating the affected people.
Mazari also criticised the draft cyber crime bill pending with the National Assembly. “It will be an infringement on the right of free speech,” she said.
Regarding the Yemen crisis, she said that the government should respect the unanimous resolution passed in the joint session of the parliament that had called for Pakistan to mediate in the conflict. “The PTI is closely following the issue. Other parties should do the same. The government should uphold the decision of the parliament,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.
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