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PTI to take to streets over alleged rigging in polls today

  • February 17, 2024

Authorities issue multiple alerts for Islamabad owing to serious threats of terrorism from specific banned groups

PTI supporters gather during a protest demanding free and fair results of the elections, outside the provincial election commission office in Karachi on February 11, 2024. — Reuters
PTI supporters gather during a protest demanding free and fair results of the elections, outside the provincial election commission office in Karachi on February 11, 2024. — Reuters
  • IG Islamabad denies receiving permission requests for protests.
  • Demonstrations will not be allowed to take place, he says.
  • Authorities advise people against visiting protest venues.

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is set to take to the streets and hold nationwide protests today at 12pm against alleged rigging and “cutting down” of the party’s mandate in the February 8 polls.

Several political parties have taken to the streets after the unofficial election results poured in following the general elections, whereas, major parties that won the highest number of seats commenced efforts to search for allies and forge alliances to form the next governments in the Centre and provinces.

Lamenting the results, which saw its affiliated candidates emerging as the largest group by winning over 90 National Assembly seats, the PTI announced holding countrywide “peaceful protests” against what it termed “record-high rigging” during the recently concluded general elections.

“The PTI has called for country-wide protests against the unprecedented, massive, brazen rigging in general elections 2024, where PTI’s win of 180 National Assembly seats and a two-thirds majority in the parliament, was cut down to half,” the party said in a statement

A day earlier, the party, during a press conference in Islamabad, presented the relevant Form 45s to highlight their discrepancy with Form 47s, alleging that “records of rigging were set” in the electoral process. 

“The 2024 elections would be remembered in the country’s history due to the scale of rigging,” PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said, adding, 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.

However, the PTI is not the only party that has voiced its concerns over the February 8 polls, as the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), and others have also complained of rigging during the elections.

Meanwhile, ahead of the PTI’s protests, authorities have issued two threat alerts owing to serious threats of terrorism from specific banned groups, reported The News.

With the protesters being duly warned about the alerts and against unlawful assembly in the federal capital, Islamabad Police Inspector General (IG) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan has stressed that nobody would be allowed to assemble or protest at any place in the federal capital at any public place.

Speaking to The News on Friday, the police official maintained that it would be incorrect to say that any party has sought permission to stage any protest, adding that the demonstrations wouldn’t be allowed to take place by any group or party.

Highly placed sources have told the publication that additional troops of Punjab Rangers have been directed to deal with any eventuality in the city.

The sources have warned that Police Order 2002 has been imposed in Islamabad and therefore no activity or gathering would be permitted without prior permission from the police or administration.

“All [political] parties have been informed of the imposition of Section 144 [in the city],” read the statement issued by the Islamabad police.

Warning of stern legal action against those found in violation of the security directives, the police have advised women and people under 18 years of age to refrain from moving towards the city’s F-9 park and F-6 areas from 10am to 1pm.

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