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Protests over poll rigging soar

india Updated: May 15, 2013 01:56 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Imtiaz Ahmad

For a third consecutive day, activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have been protesting against what they call rigging in different constituencies, which they say has robbed them of vital parliament seats needed for the party to make Imran Khan leader of the Opposition.

The PTI has been holding protests in four cities —Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Mardan, where it says rigging was carried out by rival parties.

From his hospital bed in Lahore, PTI leader Imran Khan alleged that there was massive rigging in 25 constituencies and demanded re-polling. The Election Commission of Pakistan has agreed for re-polling in one constituency, NA250 — Karachi’s largest constituency.

The PTI has also uploaded clips and pictures sent by supporters and activists that show ballot boxes being stuffed and MQM workers entering polling booths and threatening electoral officers. Another clip is that of PML-N party leader Saad Rafiq entering a women’s polling booth and threatening electoral staff. The PML-N is yet to give a response to the video.

PTI candidate for NA250, Dr Arif Alvi, has said he would go to the Supreme Court to challenge the results of many Karachi constituencies. This has upset the MQM which has threatened the PTI with physical harm if it continues to challenge what it calls “the mandate of the poor and middle class people of Karachi.”

MQM leader and former federal minister Babar Ghauri told Dr Alvi that he should not let “a few burgers decide what is right for Karachi.” ‘Burger’ is a local derogatory term used to describe people from well off backgrounds with English-medium schooling.

MQM leader Altaf Hussain, who is in self exile in London, told an MQM rally in Karachi: “We can bring 10 times the number of people you have assembled in Clifton. They are waiting for my command to teach you a lesson.”