PTI Announces Plan For Nationwide Protests Over Alleged By-Polls Rigging

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan says suspension of internet and mobile services was one of the tactics for ‘rigging’ the by-polls.

PTI Announces Plan For Nationwide Protests Over Alleged By-Polls Rigging

The Imran Khan-founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has accused the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of "rigging" the results of Sunday's by-elections, which saw the party win most national and provincial seats. The PTI has also unveiled a plan for nationwide protests that are scheduled for this Friday, April 26. 

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan called the entire process of holding by-elections for 21 national and provincial assembly seats "fraudulent" during a news conference on Monday, along with other prominent figures such as Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) Chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza. 

In addition, he said that one of the methods used to "rig" the election was to suspend cellphone and internet access. Khan also asserted that a PML-N candidate received more votes than Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the by-elections, calling this an obvious instance of "manipulation" of poll results.

In addition to urging that the highest electoral authority conduct a comprehensive investigation, the politician requested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) not to announce results in those seats where charges of vote manipulation had been filed. 

Khan announced that a nationwide protest movement against "by-poll rigging" would begin on Friday in Faisalabad under the banner of "Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz-Aayin-e-Pakistan," a new platform established by the alliance led by the former ruling party that promises to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. 

The former minister explained that, in addition to power shows in Karachi on May 5, Friday protests will be staged in all provincial constituencies won by the Imran-founded party, as well as in Gujrat, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to a phased plan.

Following the release of preliminary results, the Nawaz-led party was declared the winner of the majority of national and provincial assembly seats in the April 21 by-elections. 

The party gained 10 of the 16 seats in the provincial legislatures and at least two of the five seats in the National Assembly, according to the unofficial results.

All four political parties have secured one seat each in the provincial assemblies: the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), the Sunni Ittehad Council, which is supported by the PTI, and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).