Days after his party’s leaders acknowledged that they had probably exaggerated claims of former caretaker chief minister Najam Sethi’s involvement in election rigging, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan renewed the charge against Sethi, saying he had done “more than 70 punctures” – twice more than previously thought.
Last year, Imran’s party had popularised the term “35 punctures” to describe the extent of the vote fixing or rigging in the May 2013 election.
“We did not contest 35 punctures allegation in the inquiry commission because the captain of our [legal] team, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, said there were 70, not just 35 punctures,” he told reporters at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi on his arrival to attend a charity event for Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
Only days before the PTI chairman had said in an interview that his party’s allegation regarding ’35 punctures’ was just a ‘political stunt.
He claimed that those who informed him about the ’35 punctures’ – Murtaza Poya and Dr Ijaz Hussain in London – had not backed out of their claim.
Reiterating his previous stand, Imran said that the 2013 elections had witnessed the worst rigging. “We will accept the final decision of the judicial commission.”
He said he has brought up the records of 25 million votes that still haven’t been found. “We are standing by our statement that the rigging was done in Punjab through returning officers.”
“Our hard work will bear fruit soon,” the PTI chief said, adding, “We are 100% sure that Naya Pakistan will be made.”
He expressed hope that the decision of the judicial commission will be in his party’s favour.
Talking about Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s recent statement, Imran said, “Zardari is stuck after giving his statement against the army and has left for Dubai,” adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif brought Zardari to the forefront and then backed out.
Commenting on the state of affairs in Sindh, the PTI chief said, “All records of corruption have been broken in Sindh and there is chaos everywhere in the province.”
The fundraising that happens here on gunpoint, he said, is not fundraising but extortion. “Extortion should be removed from Karachi and corrupt people should be held accountable in Sindh.”
Imran also went on to say that the former chief of Indian spy agency, RAW, has not denied that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) took funds from India. “If the MQM goes to court against me then why not does the same with the BBC?”
Reacting promptly on Imran’s stance against Zardari, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that Asif Ali Zardari is coming back soon. “Imran Khan thought that he could become a prime minister by staging a dharna. He is actually Mr U-turn Khan.”
All his allegations have proven wrong that is why he does about-turns, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2015.