February 8 general election sets new records of rigging: PTI

  • February 16, 2024

Imran Khan-founded party with biggest number of winning independent candidates claims polls results were changed

PTI leaders address a press conference in Islamabad, on February 16, 2023, in this still taken from a video. —PTI
PTI leaders address a press conference in Islamabad, on February 16, 2023, in this still taken from a video. —PTI
  • PTI alleges February 8 general elections were “not free and fair”. 
  • Hassan claims huge gap in votes polled for NA and provincial seats. 
  • Imran Khan’s party says elections historic due to scale of rigging.

Despite having the largest number of successful candidates in the February 8 general elections, the Imran Khan-founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday disapproved of the polls results, saying that “records of rigging were set” in the electoral process.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hassan said that the 2024 elections would be remembered in the country’s history due to the scale of rigging.

The statements came during a press conference in Islamabad today, where a large number of PTI-backed independent candidates had come claiming to be possessing Form 45s that showed them victors.

Pakistan staged the biggest election of its history on February 8, which was extraordinary in various aspects. However, the outcome of the polls did not turn out to be as expected by the political actors as none of them got a simple majority.

While the PTI-affiliated independent candidates dominated the election results, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) claimed to have enough numbers to form the government as some independents joined the Nawaz Sharif-led party post-polls.

However, maintaining its stance of having the majority, the PTI also alleges that the polls were “not free and fair” and plans to stage countrywide peaceful protests against the alleged rigging.

Hassan said that the candidates who were winning as per Form 45 — collected from polling stations in a constituency — were later declared runners-up in Form 47 — the consolidated result of a constituency. He claimed a huge gap in votes polled for the national and provincial assemblies’ seats.

Salman Akram Raja, who contested from NA-128, lambasted the electoral authorities, claiming that “rigging took place from polling stations to the RO office”.

“What the people voted for was changed in the dark of night,” he said, adding that the PTI candidates were not allowed to campaign.

Raja said that his voters were put in trouble by stripping the party of its electoral symbol — ‘bat’ — but even then people remembered all the signs and cast their votes.

Another PTI candidate, Rehana Dar, who lost to PML-N’s stalwart Khawaja Asif from NA-71, said that she was tortured and demanded justice. Dar maintained that she is ready for re-election.

She said that she had never witnessed such an election in her life before. “I’ll file a case against them and they will tell everything before the court,” she added.

Meanwhile, Shandana Gulzar claimed that PTI got 1.25 million votes from Karachi alone.

“We had 154 seats in the National Assembly by 3am. We won 42 seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but the election commission declared us [PTI candidates] successful on just 32 seats,” she added.

PTI leader Seemabia Tahir alleged that PTI’s polling agents were expelled from various polling stations.

She also brought PTI senior leader Yasmeen Rashid’s defeat against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in NA-130 into the discussion, saying that the former was leading till night but the latter was declared winner the next morning.

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