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Imran Khan's party calls for nationwide protests in Pakistan over stolen elections

Imran Khan's party calls for nationwide protests in Pakistan over stolen elections

 


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The political group of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan called on its supporters to take to the streets of Pakistan on Saturday to protest the theft of their mandate, amid allegations of widespread fraud in the recent general election.

A close aide to Khan told The Independent that nationwide protests would take place on Khan's orders and that the party is planning weekly demonstrations in the coming days to demand a speedy hearing of their trials against alleged election fraud .

Omar Ayub, who was chosen as the prime ministerial candidate, called for nationwide protests at a press conference following a meeting with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Khan (PTI) at Adiala High Security Prison in Rawalpindi.

“Our seats have been stolen with the stroke of a pen. The people have given the mandate to the former PTI president. The UN mandate and our seats have been attacked,” Mr Ayub said.

Zulfikar Bukhari, Khan's close associate and aide, told The Independent: We are obviously not going to remain silent about our stolen mandate. We will protest forcefully but peacefully.

We then approach all courts and the Election Commission of Pakistan and the courts and high courts because a mandate has been stolen, a heavy mandate stolen from the country.

We will also form the strongest opposition the country has ever known.

Supporters of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) political party gather to protest against allegations of fraud in the general elections, in Karachi, Pakistan.

(EPA)

Protests organized by Khan, which remain hugely popular in the country, attract hundreds of thousands of supporters and have turned violent in the past following police action, resulting in many casualties.

In the February 8 elections, independent candidates, mostly backed by Khan's PTI party, won a majority of 93 of the National Assembly's 265 seats. But they failed to secure the overall majority of 169 votes needed to form a government.

PTI's rivals, the Pakistan Muslim League-N and the Pakistan People's Party won 79 and 54 seats respectively and announced they would form a coalition government as part of a post-election alliance.

Khan's party accused the two former parties, seen as enjoying the support of the powerful military establishment, of stealing the PTI's mandate and participating in widespread electoral manipulation in their favor.

Supporters of Imran Khan's PTI party protest against allegations of fraud in general elections in Karachi

(EPA)

Mr. Bukhari said their coalition only shows that democracy is dead in Pakistan. The PTI has said it wants to create its own majority government and does not want to form any government with a major party after claiming its victories in many seats had been overturned.

A high-level investigation has been launched by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) into allegations of widespread manipulation of election results.

He ordered the formation of a committee which will record the statements of district polling agents and submit a report within three days.

The investigation was launched following the resignation of Rawalpindicity commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha, who admitted to manipulating the results and claimed to have been pressured by senior officials in the country.

Mr Chattha claimed that candidates who lost elections were tricked into winning in the city and that the pressure on him was so intense that he considered self-harm, but then decided to expose the matter in front of the media because he stabbed the country in the back and won't let him sleep.

He claimed that 13 candidates from Rawalpindi were forcefully declared winners.

Last month, Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman of the Jamaat-e-Islami party gave up his seat in Karachi. He claimed that local election officials had interfered in the process to hamper his PTI opponent's chances of victory.

Meanwhile, Khan's party has written a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take the country's political stability into account in any new bailout negotiations, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Analysts said the IMF's refusal to agree to a bailout could be catastrophic for Pakistan's cash-strapped economy, which is struggling to recover from an economic crisis.

Sources

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2/ https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/south-asia/imran-khan-pakistan-protest-election-rigging-b2503878.html

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