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Political chaos in Pak amid poll rigging claims and power tussles

Published:

ISLAMABAD: Jailed former

Pakistan

PM

Imran Khan

‘s party Sunday demanded a judicial probe into allegations of vote rigging even as two major political parties failed to reach a power-sharing formula to form a coalition govt.
Though independent candidates backed by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the maximum number of seats in Parliament, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have announced they will form a coalition govt after the Feb 8 elections resulted in a hung Parliament. Their post-poll alliance could mean that PTI will not be able to form the next federal govt, prompting Khan’s party to allege that the two rival parties were trying to steal the people’s mandate with the help of the powerful establishment.
Khan’s beleaguered party received a major boost Saturday when a senior govt official in charge of the election process in the garrison city of Rawalpindi alleged that rigging took place and dragged the chief election commissioner and chief justice into it. PTI Sunday demanded a judicial probe into the allegations.
Rawalpindi division commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha Saturday alleged he oversaw the rigging to deprive PTI of 13 seats which were given to losing candidates after fake votes were added to their name. Chattha claimed Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa were involved in the alleged rigging.

PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan at a press conference said efforts were made to keep the party out of the electoral arena when people, responding to the call Imran made, went to polling stations in huge numbers. “We had won 180 seats in the National Assembly, 42 seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly, 115 in Punjab, 16 in Sindh, and four in Balochistan assembly,” he said.
Gohar said the allegations by Chattha corroborated what the party had been saying all along. “That is why PTI demands a judicial commission is formed and an inquiry is conducted. And not just an inquiry, but those (involved) should be made to join the inquiry,” he said, adding that the report of the inquiry should be shared with the people.

He also said that a judicial inquiry should be conducted involving independent judges. “And those named by the Rawalpindi commissioner should not be a part of this inquiry,” he said. Gohar also said PTI was not calling for the resignation of chief justice.
ECP strongly rejected the allegations made against chief election commissioner. It formed a high-level committee to probe the allegations.
Meanwhile, the third meeting between PML-N and PPP Saturday remained inconclusive and both decided to meet again Monday to finalise the power-sharing formula.
In the meantime, PPP chairman Bilawal revealed the power-sharing formula that he was offered by PML-N, under which the PM’s post would be shared between two parties. “I was told that let us be PM for three years and then you can take the premiership for the remaining two years,” he said. “I said no to this… If I become PM, it would be after people of Pakistan elect me.”

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