PTI defers today’s protest against ‘rigging’ in elections

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has postponed the protest demonstrations and sit-ins it had announced to hold today against rigging in the general elections.

Former federal minister and party leader Hammad Azhar has said that now the party leaders and workers will protest outside the offices of returning officers (ROs) of those constituencies where the results have been changed. “Beware of those people who want you to resort to violence during the protest,” he advised.

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan had yesterday called upon the party workers and supporters to protest outside the offices of ROs tomorrow in the constituencies where the results had been delayed or changed.

“According to [Imran] Khan’s instructions, the areas in which our results were withheld and delayed and intentionally our majority is being converted… to turn a winning seat into a defeat.”

He, however, assured that the demonstrations would be peaceful and urged the PTI workers not to take law into their own hands while registering their protest.

PTI workers protest in Islamabad

On the other hand, a heavy police contingent had to be deployed after PTI-supported candidate Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, along with the party workers and supporters, held a sit-in outside the office of the RO in NA-47, Islamabad.

A police van was also parked at the site of the protest to bundle the protestors into it in case they resorted to violence.

The protestors kept shouting slogans against the RO at the top of their voice.

AFP adds: Police warned Sunday they would come down hard on illegal gatherings after the party of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan urged supporters to protest alleged rigging in last week’s election.

Independent candidates — most linked to PTI — took the most seats in the polls, scuppering the chances of PML-N to win a ruling majority. But independents can not form a government, and the country faces weeks of political uncertainty as rival parties negotiate possible coalitions.

PTI leaders claim they would have won even more seats if not for vote rigging.

A nationwide election-day mobile telephone blackout and the slow counting of results led to suspicions the establishment was influencing the process to ensure success for the PML-N.

“Throughout Pakistan elections were manipulated in a subtle way,” PTI chairman Gohar Ali Khan told a press conference Saturday, calling on supporters to “protest peacefully” on Sunday.

Authorities warned they would take strict action, saying so-called Section 144 orders were in place — under a colonial-era law banning gatherings of two or more people.

“Some individuals are inciting illegal gatherings around the Election Commission and other government offices,” said a statement Sunday from Islamabad’s police force.

“Legal action will be taken against unlawful assemblies. It should be noted that soliciting for gatherings is also a crime.”

A similar warning was also issued in Rawalpindi, while AFP correspondents saw dozens of police equipped with riot gear assembling near Liberty Market in Lahore.

Courtesy: 24 news