Fawad Chaudhry Announces Boycott Of February 8 General Elections

Former federal information minister says he and his workers are being threatened to stay away from the polls. Calls the elections, where people are unable to contest and vote freely, meaningless

Fawad Chaudhry Announces Boycott Of February 8 General Elections

Former federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry has announced that he will be boycotting the general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024.

Chaudhry announced the boycott in a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). A copy of the handwritten letter was shared by his brother, Chaudhry Faisal Hussain.

In the letter, Chaudhry said that an election where the people cannot vote or elect a leader of their choice becomes meaningless.

He pointed out that their party workers and candidates are being intimidated and threatened against contesting elections. At the same time, they also face arbitrary arrests while their nomination papers have been rejected without any just cause.

He further said that first, the ECP failed to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the assemblies were dissolved there. Now, the general elections were delayed, and people were disenfranchised.

Chaudhry said that while nomination papers filed by his brother were accepted, he was named as a co-accused in a case against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He added that the returning officer rejected nomination papers he and his wife had submitted on the pretext that two plots they owned in a housing society were not disclosed. However, Chaudhry said that when they challenged the returning officer's order in the high court, it emerged that the particular housing society where they supposedly owned the plots, did not exist. 

When that argument was defeated, the papers were rejected because they did not disclose an EasyPaisa account and another technicality.

He said that the ECP had failed to fulfill its constitutionally obligated functions. In such a scenario, he announced a complete boycott of the elections.

Fawad Chaudhry, who had announced he had quit the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and joined the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) led by Jahangir Tareen last year, had been arrested in December 2023 by NAB for alleged corruption in a housing scheme in Jhelum.