Terming the 2013 general elections ‘the most controversial’, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that when governments can’t be changed through the ballot, then the only option left is a ‘bloody revolution’ or ‘martial law’.
Addressing the media after the proceedings of the inquiry commission constituted to probe into the allegations of rigging in the last general elections, Imran said the commission was constituted because of his party’s efforts. “No one will dare steal the people’s mandate again.”
He said 22 political parties had put a question mark on the 2013 elections and the arguments of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had endorsed PTI’s point of view about rigging in the polls.
“The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had printed millions of additional ballot papers with the help of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to alter the election results.”
Read: Power stakes: PML-N-ECP alliance is evident, says Imran
So far the investigation had been pointing towards the people’s mandate being stolen to favour the PML-N, he claimed.
To substantiate his argument, the PTI chief referred to the then caretaker chief minister’s statement that the Sharif brothers [Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif] had started calling the shots even before the elections.
He found it strange that Pervez Elahi whose performance, he said, was much better than Shahbaz’s was defeated but the latter still secured a large number of votes.
Imran did not miss the opportunity to mention his own constituency where National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had defeated him. “The National Database Registration Authority was pressured by the government into altering the NA-122 report.”
Jiyalas jump ship
Former provincial minister Ashraf Sohna and Aamir Dogar, who had defeated PTI’s former president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi in the Multan by-election last year, formally joined the PTI. Both Bukhari and Sohna have grievances against PPP Punjab President Manzoor Wattoo. The party could not win them back despite having conveyed their reservations to the leadership.
Arif Khan Lashari, PPP’s candidate from Okara, has also joined the PTI, said a statement issued by the Imran Khan-led party.
Read: Imran presents 'evidence' to inquiry commission
The PPP leaders had called on the PTI chief at his residence at Bani Gala in Islamabad to express confidence in Imran’s leadership and his party’s manifesto. PTI’s national organiser, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who had also quit the PPP for Imran’s party, central organiser Jahangir Tareen and information secretary Naeemul Haq were also present on the occasion.
The PPP leaders said they would continue their political journey under the banner of the PTI, which will change traditional politics and help make Pakistan a welfare state, according to the statement.
According to several reports, Qureshi had been wooing his former colleagues who were being ignored by the PPP leadership to bring them into the PTI fold. The PTI leader had also reached out to former federal ministers Nazar Gondal from Mandi Bahauddin, Imtiaz Safdar Warraich from Gujranwala and Qayyum Jatoi from Muzaffargarh.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.