Sheikh Rasheed Urges ‘Establishment’ To 'Stay Away' From Punjab By-elections

Sheikh Rasheed Urges ‘Establishment’ To 'Stay Away' From Punjab By-elections
Former interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad has urged the establishment to 'stay away' from the Punjab by-polls tomorrow, in order to prove its 'impartiality'.

Twenty constituencies of Punjab are on the ballot after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) unseated 25 provincial lawmakers for voting against party lines during the recent election for the province’s chief minister.

A tough contest is expected between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the by-polls as the majority of the 20 defecting PTI MPAs have hitched their wagons to the PML-N.

In a video message posted on Twitter today, the Awami Muslim League (AML) chief said: "I want to discuss something important with the establishment. Tomorrow [Sunday] is a very important day. I have never seen such an election in the country's history. I want to request them to stay away from the elections. The nation will not tolerate any rigging or ghunda gardi (thuggery). The establishment would have to prove its impartiality in tomorrow's by-elections on 20 Punjab Assembly seats."

He asked the coalition government to "not stop" PTI Chairperson Imran Khan's path if the nation votes for his party in the by-polls, adding that "if his path is blocked, a fire will spread that will engulf everyone".

He also termed Sunday a "test day for country's political stability".