Pakistan Election: Opposition parties reject ‘rigged’ results, demand ‘re-election’ even as PTI hastens effort to form coalition govt

Islamabad: Opposition parties in Pakistan rejected the election results unanimously, and demanded a transparent and free and fair re-election, late on Friday.

The multi-party conference (MPC) called to devise a joint strategy over alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections of Pakistan, demanded a “transparent” re-election and said the polls were “rigged massively” and the results were manipulated. But the parties have not yet decided if they wanted to take an oath and for a coalition government.

Attended by leaders of various parties, the MPC was chaired by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman. It was held at the Islamabad residence of MMA leader Mian Aslam, Dawn reported.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters
“The APC (all parties conference) has completely rejected the 25 July elections with consensus,” announced Rehman while addressing the media after the conference concluded. “We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public” he said.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had earlier on Friday decided not to attend the conference, with a spokesperson saying its leadership will devise its own strategy regarding alleged poll irregularities.

The chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari rejected the election process and claimed the General Election 2018 was not free and fair, Geo News reported.

Bilawal, while addressing a press conference on Friday, demanded the resignation of the chief election commissioner over failure to conduct transparent polls.

He said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is responsible for carrying out transparent polls and that the electoral body failed in its task.

“We don’t accept the results of the elections,” he said.

In attendance at the MPC were Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, National Party’s Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo and several MMA leaders.

PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Chaudhry Tanveer and Khurram Dastagir and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leaders Mustafa Kamal, Raza Haroon and Waseem Ahmed also participated.

Interestingly, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) leader Farooq Sattar also showed up to the conference, despite reports that his party has agreed to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government in the centre after a contact between PTI leader Jehangir Tareen and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

Pakistan General Election 2018

Speaking at the MPC, Sattar alleged that the 25 July polls were “rigged massively” and the results were altered. “Results of their choice were devised and the party of their choice was made to win,” he claimed.

The MMA had on Thursday rejected the poll results outright, calling for declaring the entire electoral exercise “null and void”.

The recently revived alliance of five religio-political parties suffered a drubbing in the elections and even its chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and JI chief Sirajul Haq tasted defeat in their native constituencies.

The PML-N too had decided to take all major parties, including the PPP and obviously excluding the PTI, on board to formulate a joint strategy to take up the rigging issue that it believes has deprived it of majority in the coming National Assembly.