ISLAMABAD: A day after the three-judge inquiry commission ordered opening of polling bags to obtain records, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of rigging in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) — the party’s stronghold.
The accusation surfaced in PPP’s response to the questionnaire presented by the inquiry commission, tasked with probing the alleged rigging in the 2013 parliamentary elections and other possible malpractices during the electoral process.
Subsequently, the three-member panel, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk asked PTI’s attorney Abdul Hafiz Pirzada to submit a reply over the party’s statement, which accuses PTI of orchestrating widespread rigging in K-P, the province where Imran Khan formed a coalition government following the polls.
Commenting on the move, PPP member Chaudhry Manzoor, who attends the commission’s proceedings regularly, told The Express Tribune that his party believes that the elections were rigged in K-P.
Interestingly, both PTI and PPP had joined forces to submit ‘proof’ of malpractice during the polls before the inquiry commission against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). But PPP’s charges against Imran’s party hint at growing fissures between the two political parties that had teamed up against the PML-N.
In a bid to strengthen the fledgling alliance against the ruling party, PTI also withdrew the names of three witnesses, including Provincial Election Commissioner (PEC) Sindh S M Qadri, Printing Corporation of Pakistan Press’s (PCPP) Karachi MD Muzaffar Ali Chandio and former MNA Nabeel Gabol. These witnesses were responsible for holding elections in Sindh, the province where PPP leads a majority government.
Giving out details, Manzoor said the PPP has submitted its reply in response to the commission’s questionnaire, which was given to all political parties.
In its reply, the party highlights widespread rigging during the elections and points out at the irregularities in the process, particularly in Punjab and K-P. The Returning Officers (ROs) and Presiding Officers were used to subvert the result in both provinces, the party states.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2015.