Electoral malpractice: Sarwar fires broadside at PML-N, ECP

PTI’s Cheema alleges govt has taken to post-poll rigging.

Our Correspondent November 24, 2015
Chief organiser Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar addressing a press conference in the provincial capital. PHOTO: ONLINE


Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) provincial organiser Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday  saying that Pakistan would have prospered had the party employed the astuteness with which it had rigged the local government elections to govern the nation instead.

Sarwar, the former governor, made the remarks while speaking to newsmen. The PTI announced that it would move courts and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against ROs who had “altered” results after initially declaring PTI candidates victorious in the recently concluded second phase of the LG polls. The party also threatened to initiate legal proceedings if the ECP did not take notice of the illegal transfer of votes in NA-122.

Expressing satisfaction over the party’s performance in the LG polls, Sarwar rapped the govt for using state apparatus to influence its results. Sarwar said the PTI’s performance in the second phase of the polls was better than its performance in the first phase of the polls. He alleged that the government wanted to keep the opposition embroiled in petty matters to prevent it from focusing on pressing issues.

The former governor assailed the registration of cases against PTI workers. Sarwar praised party activists for persevering in such circumstances and called them heroes. He said the part would not wait for one and a half year to take to the streets if the 2018 general elections were rigged. “We don’t want to be in conflict with the government. We want it to complete its term,” Sarwar said warning it against employing cheap tactics to emerge victorious in polls.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the ECP’s performance, he said the commission would lose its credibility if it failed to act on the transfer of votes in NA-122. The former governor said the PTI had been formulating a strategy with regard to the final phase of the LG polls in the Punjab. He said it would start its electoral campaign on this account soon.

PTI deputy provincial organiser Omar Sarfraz Cheema alleged that the government had taken to post-poll rigging by imposing contrived defeats on PTI candidates who had been initially declared victorious. He said such candidates were being defeated during recounting of votes. Cheema cited examples from Gujranwala, Toba Tek Singh, Sheikhupura and Hafizabad to buttress his claim.

The PTI deputy provincial organiser said votes were being recounted on the request of PML-N while a similar treatment was not being meted out to PTI candidates.  He said the ECP had failed to entertain a PTI candidate’s request for a recount in Lahore Shadman UC-198 despite an LHC order to the effect. “The party is raising its voice against electoral malpractice incessantly as it’s something we have been grappling with,” Cheema said. He alleged the ECP had resorted to using cheap tactics. Cheema also alleged that the government had been influencing ROs to alter polls results in Hafizabad to engineer the victory of Afzal Tarar, the father of Federal Minister Saira Afzal Tarar, who had been defeated by PTI’s Mamoon Jafar Tarar.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2015.


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